Monday, March 7, 2011
Something to think about...
"I want God and spirituality, but not the church."
More people say this today than ever. Spirituality is in; church is out. Why? For some, the painful memories of previous church experiences keep them away. For others, church problems aren't worth the hassle. For many, church just "We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren." A sacrificial love for Christian brothers and sisters is one of the first, best, and more reliable evidences of having passed from spiritual death into eternal life through Christ. Anyone who claims to possess this love for God's people. but avoids their regular gatherings, needs to reexamine his relationship with the Father of this family.
Second, anyone who calls Jesus "Lord" must submit to the authority of His Word when it warns against "forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some" (Hebrews 10:25). The New Testament knows nothing of the individualized spirituality of today and nothing of a Christianity that exists apart from the local church.
Remember too that the church is Jesus' idea, not man's. More than that, the church is His body. The apostle Paul reminds us, "Christ is the head of the church; and He is Savior of the body," and "we are members of His body" (Ephesians 5:23,30). Even though it may sometimes appear otherwise, the body of Christ has not been severed from its Head; Jesus is still the Head of the church. Why wouldn't anyone want to actively participate in the only organization on earth where Jesus Christ is the Head? When one of His earliest promises was, "I will build My church" (Matthew 16:18), why wouldn't anyone want a part in what Jesus Himself is building?
Look at Jesus' own example. He wasn't a spiritual loner. Twelve disciples always traveled with Him, often teaching and ministering as well. Furthermore, Luke 4:16 reminds us that, "as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day." Why did Jesus make it His custom to go to the synagogue every Sabbath? Because He would hear the Word of God, worship God, and fellowship with His people there.
That's how participation in congregational spirituality builds our individual spirituality. When we're fed by the preaching and teaching of Scripture, receive the Lord's Supper, sing praises and pray with Christ's people, and talk about the things of God together, the Spirit strengthens us in ways that do not occur when we're alone.
So attend, join, worship in, learn in, give to, fellowship with, and spiritually thrive in a local body of
Christ that's faithful to God's Word. Find teachers and models there who can help with simplifying your spiritual life. Failing this, consider starting some type of small group in the church to discuss or study a book on the subject.
Christian spirituality is not an isolationist, self-absorbed spirituality. True spirituality is relational - not only toward God, but also with the people of God. Proverbs 18:1 teaches, "A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgment." Don't isolate yourself from the people of God. Take God, spirituality, and the church. That's God's plan. His ways are simpler and healthier for our souls than any we contrive on our own."
Excerpt taken from Simplify Your Spiritual Life by Donald S.Whitney, pages 35-36