I was having an interesting discussion with a friend. This intellectual friend of mine was musing about how the church (in general, not all churches) has become yet another place where people can go to get self help, and how many of those who profess to be following Jesus Christ have no idea why we go to church anymore when we could just get the same messages at home if we surround ourselves with the right people.
A person couldn’t do that very long before fizzling out completely though. There’s nobody else to challenge them to grow or to keep them accountable. This is why the believers met in community with one another to share one another’s burdens etc. (and why it was stressed so much to not stop meeting together).
Then he mused on about how you could get that kind of help at any public institution. Why not meet for accountability in a Yoga place? I had not mentioned all that I was going to say yet…so I wrote down every reason I could think of as to why the Church should be more than just self help.
Yoga hurts too much and the odds are not favourable for you to get sound Biblical teaching in one of those places. Church is more than self help or “and how does that make you feel?” I hate that what I said made it come off that way. Yoga can’t come down, pull you out of the mud when you don’t deserve it and save you from your sins and a trip to hell. None of those other places work on that level. They only work with you as long as you’re making progress. Jesus never ditched the ones He called as soon as they screwed up and sinned against him (Peter for example) and that is a good thing because it includes you and me. It’s only by His grace that any of us are still around at all. I don’t know about you, but I have yet to have an absolutely perfect week where God would have been pleased with me continuously and because of that I need to repent, turn away from the sin and accept the grace. And yet He loves us enough to keep us around (in spite of all the perfectly good reasons He could come up with to leave us) and through the Bible and Holy Spirit He works with us through our lives to become a better representation of Himself to the rest of the world who has yet to know of Him and why they need Him too. Have we got this completely right? No, there’s definitely plenty of stuff for all of us as believers and followers of Christ to work on. Otherwise God’s work in and through us would be done. Giving up is not an option though. Not after all this time and effort God put into it. We show up week after week, not just because we need help…and we do need help, but it’s not the kind you can get just anywhere…but also what can we do to serve He who gave everything for us? Now if one pays attention to the Bible at all it’s all in there. In saying that We shouldn’t do these things thinking that we could ever pay God back if we serve in Church for a long enough time each week, but rather we should be thinking, “what can I do that God would actually be pleased with, with the specific giftings God has given me.” I should also mention here that God, in all of His smartness, has gifted each of us differently so that the whole Church can be His blessing in the community in which it sits. No one person can do this all by him or herself. The Body of Christ needs all its parts to function correctly. This is why we keep showing up. Not to mention it says in many places in scripture to keep at it.