And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. -Hebrews 10:24-25
With the new years resolutions coming up a lot of us are going to make some sort of promise to get back, or more into, the gym this year. For myself, I made this decision back when I was about 12-13 years old and have been pretty faithful about keeping it. There have been times when my body weight has fluctuated but overall I have done a pretty good job at staying healthy, even more so now than when I was younger. One of the big differences between being in shape and not is going to the gym on those days when you would rather be anywhere else. Even those of us who love fitness (or more likely the state of being fit than fitness itself) have plenty of days where we have to force ourselves to go to the gym. Once you get there though its often a different story and your motivated and ready to go; although there are other days when you will still have to push yourself. Then comes the sweat, the pain, the awkward dude next to you who is making totally unnecessary noises, etc. Those are the days that define you though. Those are the days that make the difference between a physically fit person or not. One thing that I have always known to be true though is that I have never finished a work out and thought “Man, that was a waste of time I really wish I hadn’t done that.” Never has that happened. I always feel accomplished, especially if its on a day when I didn’t want to do it. You also will get a rush of endorphins which will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. On top of that, you are being healthy and your confidence will be boosted.
So many times church is just like that. I have been even guilty in the past of preaching to people (who thought the idea of going to church utterly terrible) to not worry about it. Just accept Jesus, its not about church. While that may be borderline theologically true (I technically could be saved and not have to go to church) I have come to realize how I never, ever should have told anyone that. First, part of accepting Christ means that you enter into His body, which we call the church. It would be weird if I was a hand but decided to cut myself off from the arm, how long would I live? Seconds (1 Cor. 12:13-27). Secondly, if you love God then you are going to love his children (the church) too, if you don’t then you don’t love God (1 John 4:20). Lastly, we are actually exhorted (told) to “not forsake the assembling of ourselves together…”. So it is in the Bible that Christians are supposed to go to church– something I have heard taught that its not required or commanded (and yet it is, as we just saw) and something I even have been guilty of telling others at times myself.
That said, not all churches are created equal. If your church doesn’t teach directly from the Word of God as its primary and authoritative source then it won’t do you much good. If the worship isn’t Christ focused and centered and the leaders aren’t spirit-led then yeah, skip church that day and go find another one that is.
There are times when I don’t feel like going to church. Ill even be more honest, there were times when I was considered a pastor and I was supposed to teach and I still didn’t want to go. Yet, those were the times that defined me. Those were the times where the real growth took place (and likely some much needed restoration). If you are stumbling with your walk, then you need to spend some more time at church around other Christians who are going to help stir you up again. Just like you will never regret going to the gym you will never regret going to a good church. So maybe its time to make a new years resolution this year to get your soul back in shape and not just your body.