Why is church the first thing we neglect?
I know I am guilty of this, so I’m speaking as much to myself as to anyone else.
We’re tired or busy. We don’t feel good or don’t feel like it. Someone hurt our feelings or we don’t like how something’s done.
I also know personally that sometimes missing church is unavoidable. You may have to travel or you are physically incapable of coming in. I’m not speaking to those instances.
I’m talking about the times we say we can’t go to church on Sunday, the excuses we give for our absences that we wouldn’t dare pull at our jobs or school on Monday.
We know the importance of that test we have to take in our class. We reverence our boss enough to know he won’t tolerate late arrival.
But when it comes to a meeting together of believers, we show up tardy and unexcited. If we show up at all.
We come with an attitude. We arrive out of obligation. We prioritize our income and our education more than El Shaddai.
And in doing so, we miss great moments of fellowship with our Christian brothers and sisters. We blind ourselves to opportunities to get involved with the body. We deafen our ears to the message the Lord is trying to speak to us.
Hebrews 10:24-25 reads “and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”
There is purpose in meeting together as a church. We are the body of Christ, and the body constitutes of different members. Each has something unique to contribute and important to the kingdom of God.
But if we constantly miss church, we aren’t being stimulated in our purposes. We need to have our gifts kindled afresh, our spirits constantly renewed by godly edification. (2 Timothy 1:6) Accountability and encouragement cannot be received in isolation.
If we make ourselves an island, we in turn are communicating selfishness. We think going through life alone is better and more effective than becoming righteously vulnerable in the eyes of people whose heart is to spur you on toward Christ, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.
No, people aren’t perfect. Some of us may have been hurt by a trusted church member in the past, and I don’t want to discredit the pain of that. But I also don’t want us, like John Bevere writes, to get so caught up in our offense that we miss out on what God wants to do in our lives.
We don’t go to church for people. People will fail in one way or another. But God won’t. He is faithful and true. His righteousness and justice are inexplicable, His glory unattainable, His heart tender, and His right hand mighty.
We go to church to meet with God. And in meeting with God, our hearts will be developed and molded into His. We will begin to realize the importance of being edified and matured, of being helped and pushed toward the King of kings and Lord of lords.