Going to church services, I’ve heard the paraphrase, “We work until Sunday or Wednesday and then we recharge here.” This statement is one of the reasons why I have posts “against church.” For clarity, what this means, as I realize every single time I have a post about this I have to reinstate.
- I am NOT AGAINST GOING TO CHURCH
- I am NOT AGAINST THE ASSEMBLY (congregation) as we are told to gather together. (Hebrews 10:25)
- What I AM AGAINST is when we find more fulfillment of feeling “connected” to Jesus in church ONLY or through ONLY being with others.
- These posts are here to encourage people to spend time with Jesus one on one.
One of the last times I talked about church I discussed how we need to take fellowship outside the church doors.
But today, I want to take it further. Sometimes we only feel close to Jesus when we are with others, and it should not be so.
What I find interesting is often times it is easier to schedule church (or fellowship) during the week than it would be to spend that same amount of time with Jesus on our own. Now, I understand people who have young families especially, the church allows parents to break away and have some more individual time. When we are at home and everyone is with us, there are different demands. So, I want that to be pointed out. This isn’t meant to point fingers at anyone, I just want us to think about our time with Jesus, including myself.
Being gathered with others to praise the Lord, discuss scripture, learn, and fellowship is a WONDERFUL thing! Yet, most of the time, when we are with others our attention is not fully on Christ. That’s okay! We can be refueled in fellowship. But it shouldn’t be the only way we feel refueled. This is why we should have more time with Jesus by ourselves.
When I’m with other people, it’s easy to have a guard up or to get distracted with focusing on others. Things may be going on in my heart, I will not reveal to everyone. A select group of sisters in Christ, maybe, but I do not do this all the time. Sometimes I do not even know what to say when people ask me what they can pray for. My mind goes blank. This is a problem for many people. We have issues on our hearts, but we do not share them.
Again, all the more reason we need to talk to Jesus on a regular basis. Scripture encourages us to ask Him to search out our hearts (our spirit/life/temple) and reveal what is hidden.
(NASB) Psalm 139:23, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts…”
(NLT) Psalm 19:12, “How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults.”
Jesus can reveal our struggles. Talking to Him has helped me identify issues that I could later share with fellow sisters in Christ for prayer. He has inspired me with powerful images or thoughts that I can use to encourage fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
God can most certainly use fellowship to inspire us through each other, and that’s special. But what is so intimate and precious are the moments when it’s just us and Jesus.
I understand oftentimes it seems easier for us to reveal our troubles to fellow sisters and brothers, not to Jesus. I caution you to seek Jesus on your own.
- Sing worship songs. He deserves praise, and for those who struggle to pray some worship songs can be perfect songs to pray out loud with.
- Read scripture out loud. Speaking with our mouth is powerful.
- Keeping a prayer journal or a journal between you and God can be really helpful. It allows you to share your thoughts, fears, issues, anything and everything. It also gives you the opportunity to see how God has answered past issues and prayers.
When we carry burdens all on our own these may be issues we carry for a while before we reveal them to others. Burdens that grow at substantial lengths. At the end of the day, even if we have friends and possibly a spouse near us, we go to sleep at night with them having the inability to read our minds and our hearts.
As I once told my husband, he can be right beside me but not know everything God can know. Those who are closest to us do not have the abilities to know us as intimately as Christ.
If we only give worries and burdens to others, it’s a pretty isolating place to be when it’s just us.
(ESV) Psalm 38:04, “For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.”
(NLT) Psalm 40:12, “For troubles surround me— too many to count! My sins pile up so high I can’t see my way out. They outnumber the hairs on my head. I have lost all courage.”
It is Jesus who is our confidence. Jesus who carries our burdens. Jesus who knows our heart. Jesus who can save us, help us repent, and lead us beside still waters.
(HCSB) Psalm 65:03, “Iniquities overwhelm me; only You can atone for our rebellions.”
Again, fellowship is crucial. There are times we may struggle to face the Lord on our own. Jesus alone gives us the confidence to approach the throne of God, but sometimes we need fellow brothers and sisters to uplift us in encouragement to go to Him. Praying together is important. We should pray for each other when separated, of course, but also when together. (Ephesians 3:12, Hebrews 10:19, Matthew 18:20)
(NASB) Ezra 9:06, “and I said, “O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift up my face to You, my God, for our iniquities have risen above our heads and our guilt has grown even to the heavens.”
(NIV) Hebrews 3:01, “Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.”
Be recharged in Christ daily. If you have to step away for 10 minutes, do it! If you have to lock yourself in the bathroom for 5 minutes to sing one worship song or read one scripture out loud, do it! Going to church (receiving the word from a shepherd) and having fellowship is crucial.
Do Bible studies outside of church. Have a small group of believers to stay accountable to and to pray together. Jesus can use people. He wants us to be together. But do not find your refuge in people, a calling, or in a building. Our refuge is in Jesus Christ ONLY!
(ESV) 2 Samuel 22:03, “My God, my Rock, in whom I take Refuge, my Shield, and the Horn of my Salvation, my Stronghold and my Refuge, my Savior; You save me from violence.” (Capital lettering and emphasis mine.)
What is one way you can spend alone time with the Lord today?
Monthly Scripture- (NKJ) Psalm 85:02, “You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people; You have covered all their sin. Selah.”
Second Blog: Peeking Beneath