Why do you go to church? If you had to stop and give an answer to that question what would your answer be? Could it be because of:
a) the fellowship
b) the worship
c) because we are commanded to gather together with other believers
d) the message
e) to be an example to your household
f) to minister to the needs of others
In my opinion, all of the above answers would be correct. However there is one reason that stands out more than all of the above. And that answer is:
g) the training.
Knowing how to skillfully handle the Word of God in threatening and/or life changing situations is paramount to living successfully as a Christian. It's also fundamental in being a blessing to those around us. We have an enemy that seeks to kill, to steal and to destroy (John 10-10). How we handle the attacks of our enemy will depend on the training we receive from our local churches. When we are being attacked on all sides, do we react to his onslaught or do we respond with what we've been taught? Knowing how to respond to our enemies attack can mean the difference between stomping out a fire before it gets started and losing everything God has blessed us with. No one can identify with that analogy more than firefighters.
Firemen train constantly so when called to act in an emergency situation, they can respond almost on autopilot. Sometimes the moment it takes to think about how to react to a situation will cause the fire to gain momentum and grow out of control. In an emergency situation, firemen need to know exactly how to respond. The proper kind of response in an emergency situation only comes from training and preparation.
For us Christians, it's easy to have faith when the kids are safe and the bills are paid. It's easy to love others when we're surrounded by lovable people. The true test of our level of spiritual growth and development is how we respond when the kids are in distress, when the bills aren't paid and when everyone around you is seeking to drag you down. God's Word wasn't given to us to use in ideal conditions. It was given to us to use when life is difficult. A ship doesn’t need to drop anchor when the sea is calm. One who is searching doesn’t need a flashlight in the daylight. And a healthy man doesn’t seek a physician.
Our primary reason for going to church should be to grab nuggets of truth. Nuggets of truth that we can bring home and talk about with our family members. Nuggets of truth that we can use to satisfy our spiritual hunger. Nuggets of truth that we can study to the point they become an intricate part of our internal response systems. And once the truth of God's Word gets down into our spirits we can act upon it in emergency situations and stamp out the fires in our lives before they become blazing infernos.
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Great analogy - and a super truth for all of us to remember. We must be ready.