I stumbled upon an encouraging blog some time ago and have enjoyed reading it ever since. The blog’s author is a pastor in the Midwest and has an excellent way of writing and pointing to God’s truth.
Reading this today I had a couple thoughts. The first took me to James 2 where James writes: “You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?”
The second thought takes me to Hebrews 10 to a verse that I think as I re-read it really needs to be held in context with the previous verses. My initial thought had me recalling the part of verse 25 that calls us to not avoid gathering together with other believers, but I believe we can’t simply see those words and believe then that we ought to make church attendance a priority (although we should). Look at the paragraph that includes verses 23-25 (from the New Living Translation):
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
Did you catch all that? There’s a lot there.
- “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm…” Hope is powerful. The antithesis of hope is despair and depression. We can choose to hope and be assured in something we don’t yet see or realize, or we can sink into deep despair and depression by losing a firm grip on our hope.
- “For God can be trusted to keep his promise…” Read the Old Testament for examples of God keeping his promises and what happened to an entire nation that doubted God.
- “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works…” Our role as believers isn’t merely to hoard our salvation, but to encourage others in their relationship with Christ and to share this good news with others who do not yet have such a relationship with our creator. The Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:14 talks about life’s journey with Christ in sporting terms — as that of a race — and encourages us to run in order to win a heavenly prize.
- “And let us not neglect our meeting together as some people do…” Isn’t it easy in our fast-paced society to justify avoiding church? “I’m too tired…” “I need to spend time with my family…” “I need to mow the lawn/wash the car/do laundry…” We were created for community and relationship. We can
- “But encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Though probably not exactly analogous, I think of Ephesians 4:29 when I read this passage: “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” (Emphasis added is mine).
If we’re to take Christ seriously and be the church, then we can’t merely just “do” church one day a week.