Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Like Living in a Goldfish Bowl (11/07/13)
TITLE: Moving Beyond the Fishbowl
By Victoria Catron
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Through circumstances and divine intervention there came a time in my life when not only church services but the Lord himself became the ultimate desires in my life. Still there were times when I had more questions about the importance of church and the Bible than I felt were answers. It took at least a year in a Wednesday night Bible study that explored topics from A to Z before I realized that I needed more depth than my church was providing for me. It was like living in a goldfish bowl while having the desire for the wide expanses of the ocean within my soul. So I applied and attended Bible college away from home for three years. I learned so incredibly much but hadn't reached an end. God put a desire in me to see others love Him and their respective churches just as much or more than I did.
In order to fulfill those desires I still needed and desired to learn, still had to have a longing for the ocean rather than be content with the fishbowl. Don't get me wrong there is security and provision within such small confines but there is also stunted growth via the lack of different scenarios, diverse companionships, gifts and talents beyond my own, etc. Hebrews 10:23-25 KJV clearly says that we should attend church to build up our faith, to instigate love and good works, and as an encouragement. Earlier in the same book it says that DAILY exhortation is needful to help keep sin from making our hearts hard (Hebrews 3:13 KJV). It's no coincidence that a good portion of the New Testament books were written to local bodies of believers. In 1 Corinthians 12:1-31 KJV God gave the apostle Paul a wonderful illustration of how local churches are to be compared to a physical body where the differences working together make up the whole with Christ as the head.
I've heard Christians say that they don't need to attend church because they can worship God anywhere and by themselves. While this is true it's not the complete truth as the Bible reveals it. Satan desires to fool Christians into believing that a fishbowl is the best place for them but the reality is there's a creek, a river, a pond, a lake, an ocean out there filled with blessings and, yes, even hardships prepared to bring us closer to our Creator. In the Gospel according to Matthew Jesus proclaims that the "gates of hell shall not prevail against" the church (Matthew 16:18 KJV). It doesn't mean that Satan won't try to destroy churches which is why we must be sure that we are depending upon God's Word as our guide (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV). Yet, all too often Christians' lives, homes, et cetera continue to be more easily destroyed because we aren't actively involved in the support "system" that God provided for us. Remember that followers of Christ are in a spiritual war! We only have hope in Christ, in that "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7 KJV)."
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