Short answer, yes, but God may still be displeased with us for other reasons, it is SO much deeper than church attendance…
I’ve said it before in every single post I’ve written about church. I’m not against church. If you want to write a comment defending church, and defending how we need to be the body and not forsaking the assembling of ourselves, go right ahead because you’re right, and I totally support that. 🙂 I just want to save you some time writing your perhaps lengthy comment to things I completely agree with and support.
I’ve written at least five posts, if not more on the topic of church. This one you may want to check out if you are not familiar with any of them, it’s a summary of how I stand.
Related Post | Why I Have Some Posts Warning Against Church
But if you’re curious…you can also check out these other posts.
What I am against is the crutch people use when it comes to church, making church a substitute for God. I am against the hypocrisy and judgment that more often than not sits in the seats. And I am speaking BEYOND the fact no one is perfect in church.
Many churches are deceiving. Many fallen believers are toxic in church or outside. Many groups of believers cause division and stumble up others. There are wolves in sheep’s clothing and the sheep are being scattered. Woe to any leader who is strikes the Shepherd’s sheep.
I obviously can say more, and I have previously, and probably will later, but today’s post is about the individual who has more than likely struggled with a past church experience. Someone who is hurt. Someone who is probably confused. Someone who more than likely is growing a seed of bitterness.
Because that is what my toxic church experience did to me.
I’ve written a four-part series on it, so if you want the details the series totally covers it.
Related Post | Toxic Church Experience | God’s Plan?
The church represents the body, not confined to a building but gathering. It represents a group of people who may or may not claim to be a believer. Who may or may not have an active walk with Christ. The True Church is one body of believers, and these believers all have the right relationship with Christ. Not perfect but there is a love for Christ, a desire for His ministry to carry out the Gospel, a willingness to change, to seek forgiveness, to be humble and have a love for others including our enemies. That is what the True body of Christ is.
It is easy for us to point fingers at people in the church setting who are hypocritical believers. It is easy for us to point to anyone else except ourselves. We are not perfect either and if we had the right relationship with Christ then seeds of bitterness would not grow in our heart. That no matter how horrible a fallen believer may have treated us, we would not take it out on God.
But this is exactly what happens…
So many people have fallen and get stumbled because imperfect people are not Christlike. Is it REALLY surprising that someone who is not perfect and does not have the right relationship with God struggles to be Christlike? Are these not indicators why it is important to pray for other believers? Are these not good enough reasons to know what it means to be Christlike in our own life?
Because someone has to be! Why do we expect it to be everyone else to be loving towards others and enemies…but not from ourselves?
Jesus told us from the beginning these things would happen. Yet countless times, we see the body fall because they do not have the right heart.
Truth– They can’t have the right heart if they do have the right relationship with Christ!
We expect and desire for people to not hurt us as a believer when we are fallen and imperfect. Shame on us!
Going to church is NOT important!! Argue with me if you want but you cannot deny me this! SPENDING TIME WITH CHRIST THROUGHOUT EVERY SINGLE DAY IS MOST IMPORTANT! Not scheduling “a time slot” for Him. But most people do not continue their relationship outside of church. And many believers whether they go to church or not are not devoting enough time to grow in Christ.
This is WHY we struggle when people hurt us! We aren’t being Christlike either! We are not humble or patient. We are not forgiving towards others. We carve out lines every time a believer hurts us so we can discuss how “fallen” everyone is but refuse to talk about how imperfect our walk is.
We do more doubting in God than believing in Him. We reflect on our own bitterness and anguish than we reflect on Him and His love for others, even those who do not care for Him.
Do not misunderstand. I’m not saying stay in a church that is constantly toxic and only rotting you. But I am saying we need to let go, move on, and draw close to God regardless of what our church situation is like or was like.
The truth is if we honestly love God then we will grow where we are planted. If we struggle because we do not have support from those around us it should be an alert that our perceived relationship with God is not actually through Jesus but through people…
Heard of the love of money? Try the love of people. I see Christians question God when they are not connecting with others. When church is tough on them. When they are not being lifted up from the worship service.
These are issues with people not issues with God. The wages of sin is death and many who walk the broad path are fallen, believers. Yet we take the brokenness from our circle that once gave us support, now making us bitter and we blame God.
We do not understand Him or scripture…because I think we never did… I think we get caught up in being around other believers and measuring our faith and our walk with Christ on how others perceived us to be. Or even our works in the community, bloggers beware. If we did not regularly, without any obligation to the body of believers, study our Bibles before church (or blogging), how will that change when church is out of the picture. If we did not pray regularly before, that will not change.
Church can easily make our relationship with Christ a routine, we found a substitute, and that is NOT what it means to have a relationship with Christ. This is all on us.
Going to church is meant to be an opportunity to grow, learn and encourage others together while praising God. But going to church does not and never meant you or I ever had a relationship with Christ. To have a TRUE relationship with Christ is all outside of church and Bible study with others. Sure, church may have guided or encouraged our relationship or desire to know Jesus better. But that’s all it is.
Including when the body of believers gather here in the blogging community.
God is not confined to a building, a scheduled time, a routine, or among other believers. Everything comes down to a heart issue. Your heart issues. My heart issues.
Our issues may have been influenced by people but that is not God’s fault. Just because someone acts like a representative or spokesperson for Christ does not mean they are Christlike. We can’t treat the two as the same.
And God will call us out for it.
Do we honestly know Him? Did we ever know Him?
The time is now.
*** Community Prayer Request | August ’18 – Join Me In Praying For Each Other And If You Have A Request To Add Let Me Know. A New Prayer Request Post Comes Out Every Month And Is Updated As Requests And Updates Come In.
Second Blog: Peeking Beneath