Contrary to common assumptions, Christianity is not a solo sport. Being a Christian is not solely an individual experience. A large part of following Jesus means that we NEED to be surrounded by other people who are following Jesus as well.
Colossians 1:10 (NLT) Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.
So, we follow Jesus and we honor God with our lives. There is a team, a guide, and a path.
1 John 3:1a (NLT) See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!…
Children. Every Church is Kid’s Church. Jesus told us in Matthew 18:3 that we would have to become as little children. Certainly, we mature (the writer of Hebrews demands it). However, we are still like children because we will always need help, and we will always need each other.
We Have a Father. We must learn to know our God as a caring Father, a Father who is teaching us to fight for our growth. He is making us champions. He is not holding our hands while we whine, but He is encouraging us to fight. He is helping us become stronger.
We are in a Family. We are in this together; there are no loners. Loners typically don’t respond properly to conflict and trials. I understand that many have been hurt by a church. I get it. But, much of the New Testament is written to churches in some kind of conflict.
1 John 2:19 (NLT) These people left our churches, but they never really belonged with us; otherwise they would have stayed with us. When they left, it proved that they did not belong with us.
Walking away from the Bride of Christ, the family of God is not the solution to a conflict with the church. If you can live just fine without the family, then it is likely that you were never a part of the family, to begin with. There is no excuse for a loner, hermit kind of faith.
And make a note: “Church” can look many different ways, there is a place for large gatherings and worship, encouragement, and instruction. Yet, there is also value in small groups and even one on one accountability partnerships. In the smaller communities, real compassion, unity, encouragement, and accountability take place more easily.
Hebrews 4:12 (NLT) For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
The Bible is a Map. It shows us the state of our own souls. There is a reason we are a mess inside and why we struggle to sleep at night. There are ancient and persistent realities that are still ruining our lives. The Bible reveals these horrible lies that stand as seemingly impenetrable strongholds in our hearts and minds. The Bible shows us how to dismantle those strongholds and be free.
John 5:39 (NLT) “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!
The Bible also leads us to Jesus, who is the answer for our soul, spirit, and even bodily afflictions. He is THE WAY. The more we learn, admire, consider, and emulate Jesus, the more quickly and completely we will grow as believers. It is a very important distinction that the Bible is authoritative and it is protected. But Jesus IS the WORD of GOD. The Bible leads us to Jesus.
The Bible is a God-to-English Dictionary. The Bible is the most important book in your home, or on your phone. How will you know the Truth? How will you identify lies? How will you know the Father’s Voice? Or, The Spirit’s leading?
So… Are you reading it? Thinking about it? Committing it to memory? You, Me, ALL OF US just need more of the Bible.
Matthew 7:13-14 (NLT) “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. 14 But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.
Difficult. It’s easy to go with the crowd. It’s easy to go with your crowd. It’s not easy to go with Jesus’ crowd. Are you prepared for that? Do you understand that the EASY path of the world does not turn out well for those who follow it? In fact, following Jesus is going to be challenging and the only people who are going to understand that same challenge are others following Jesus.
Psalms 119:105 (NLT) Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.
Hard to See. Sometimes the path isn’t as clear as at other times. Many lose their way, and many others will try to tell you the right way. But only Jesus is and can reveal to you the right way for your purpose.
Colossians 4:2 (NLT) Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.
You CAN’T Live without Prayer. A Christian without prayer isn’t a Christian. Don’t be deceived.
2 Corinthians 5:20 (NLT) So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”
Wondrous. You get to share your faith. You will not come home alone, you will bring a host with you. You will find many people along the way who want to come with you. It’s wonderful to witness someone else begin following Jesus.
Mark 9:23 (NLT) “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”
You should expect miracles. God hasn’t stopped doing cool stuff. He still heals. He still delivers.
So, follow Jesus and live to honor God. But please, don’t go it alone.