…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. (Hebrews 10:25 NASB)
The last week or two at work has been very challenging on me personally and professionally. I have to admit, the stresses put on me have left me drained, and I’ve hardly felt very spiritual, and to my own shame I admit, I’ve not been as spiritual as I should be. I’ve fallen into the trap of allowing my circumstances to dictate my attitude and actions, instead of allowing my faith to dictate my circumstances. In my attempt to gain control again over everything, I’ve felt this temptation to hunker down, tighten the hatch, and wait out the storm in my own little bomb shelter.
But then I am reminded by Hebrews that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. The faith I have is not mine alone, but is a faith that belongs to the greater community of believers, locally and universally. The Lord did not save me so that I could just have a one-on-one relationship with Him. He saved me so that I could be part of a people– the communion of the saints. He saved me so I could share my life and faith with others who are of the same life and faith, and that together, we could enjoy the fellowship of one-another in Him.
Last night I almost laid out of a a small-group I frequent in my Church. I try to attend weekly. But, after such a hard week at work, I thought I could just use some me-time when I get home. That would probably be the best thing for me, right? Such is often our rationale, but such a rationale is not of faith. While there are times of special prolonged fasts where we as Christians might need to withdraw for a time of solitude, the regular diet of our faith is that we should be a people who frequently come together.
You see, my personal relationship with Jesus Christ is not enough to sustain me as a regular way of life. Nor is it enough for you. I need you, and you need me. And together, we need the Jesus who lives inside of each one of us. Last night my rationale almost caused me to skip gathering together with the saints, especially since I was running late to our meeting. But, with my heart I knew I needed to be with these precious saints. And from the moment I arrived, late though I was, I instantly felt a divine injection of His grace into my life.
There is something so precious about gathering together with the saints. I often find a great spirit of refreshing come over in me in such times, as I did last night. And why is that? Because these people in and of themselves are the best company in the world? No. Rather, it is the Spirit of Christ who dwells in them that brings a time of refreshing to my soul. As I look into their eyes and hear their voices, I see the eyes of my Lord, and I hear His voice. I need more of that. I need to be with the Lord more and more. And Biblically speaking, there is no greater way to be with the Lord and have a one-on-one relationship with Him than to spend time in the presence of the saints. Neglect such fellowship, and you will neglect your relationship with the Lord. Embrace such fellowship, and you will thrive in your relationship with the Lord.