The Bible warned Christians not to forsake gathering together. It doesn’t say not to forsake going to a certain building to attend church or not to forsake listening to a sermon.
We may learn from a gifted preacher or teacher, and that learning may or may not take place in a building with the name of some church out in front. There is certainly nothing in the word saying not to listen to teachers or preachers or not to enter church buildings, but that’s not actually how we gain spiritual strength.
Our spiritual strength, of course, comes from the Holy Spirit, but the power of that spiritual strength comes from unity with other Christians. You and I can’t alter the power level of the spiritual strength the Holy Spirit sends us, but we can concentrate whatever power He sends by gathering together with other Christians.
When I stand alone, I receive a certain level of spiritual strength from the Holy Spirit, but when I stand together with another Christian, the strength he receives and the strength I receive somehow interact and produce a combined strength much greater than that of either of us alone.
It’s as if we each radiate a magnetic field. When two of us stand side by side, our fields combine and become much stronger. As we add additional members to our little group, the power grows, as long as we are in union with one another and not dividing ourselves with bickering and quarreling.
The last few weeks I’ve experienced this in a real way. My basic gathering place for intermingling with and relating to other Christians is my Sunday School class. I’m a part of a very loving group that has been together for a long time, and every time I’m with these people, my spiritual batteries get charged, and the charging has a cumulative effect.
Not gathering has a cumulative weakening effect, too. I’ve missed my class two of the last three weeks because of commitments elsewhere, and I feel the effect of that weakening.
Writing my Tuesday blogs has become difficult during this period. Today, I sat here completely dry for over an hour with no ideas coming to write about. I began to wonder why that was, and that’s when the subject of gathering together came to mind.
Do you experience “dry spells” when you miss whatever group you gather with regularly? Do you begin to feel an estrangement from God Himself if you miss the fellowship for too long?
If you abide in Me and My word abides in you, then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
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It is important to come together with believers in the presence of God, but it can also lull you into a sense of complacency and of rote worship. There is comfort in a group of like-minded people, and we need that from time to time. One problem is that we get sucked into the feeling good aspect of it, the spiritual high. What did Jesus do when he really needed to seek God’s wisdom and power? He withdrew from the crowd. Of course, he’s Jesus and we are not, but the spiritual principle is there. Another problem is the church building itself. That concept is part of the old covenant. After Jesus gave up his life on the cross, the veil in the temple that separated the Inner Sanctum, where only the Most High Priest was allowed, from the rest of the temple was ripped from top to bottom. Some years later, the whole thing came crashing down just as Jesus had said it would. The people who heard what God said while he was here in person did not take what he said to heart. Why are we always trying to build God a bigger, better temple to live in? He lives in us! Read 2 Samuel 7, especially verse 7. It’s very enlightening on this subject of temple or church or house of God.
I totally agree with you about the building. That’s why I made a point of mentioning in the post that we are NOT called to a building. Thanks for your input.
Your well was empty, my friend. Over the weekend we had a speaker at our RWA meeting and she talked about how, as artists, we need to get out ~ away from our computers and our works-in-progress and refill our creative wells. I think that’s what you need to do ~ refill your spiritual well. Those Sunday School classes recharge you. They give you energy and zip. If you can’t make it to the classes, then you need to find another way to refill your spiritual tank. Even though God is always with you, sometimes, the tank might get a little empty. Same with creativity. We always have words, but some days, darned if I can’t put two of them together! That’s when I’ll grab my camera and go exploring. Or, I’ll take the dogs for a walk along the beach. Anything to get me out of my head and recharge my spirit.
The thing is, you have community right here, too. Just jump on Twitter of FB. We’re always here for you. Ready with a hug and a big old creative ~ spiritual recharge if needed.
Thanks, Tameri. The wanas are a great source of support.
Great post David! I always feel that spiritual strength when you and I get together – you radiate! I would love to see a blog post with suggestions for ways to build spiritual strength outside of church. I do not attend church frequently for a vast number of reasons but I still would like to find ways to bring about renewed spiritual strength. One way I do that for myself is listening to Christian songs – Tenth Avenue North is by far one of my favorites. I could listen to them forever! I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard their songs but it’s easily in the hundreds.
Sending you much love and spiritual strength. Stay safe today, N. Texas has a tornado watch going if you haven’t heard. I’ve posted info on Facebook.
Thanks, Charity. I always appreciate your support.
Gathering together and the combined spiritual strength of the group is the very reason Alcoholics continue to regularly attend AA meetings regardless of length of sobriety.
I had my last drink nearly five years ago, and I feel “less” when I don’t attend at least one meeting a week. No. The group is not secular, but it is spiritual. We all know if took a power greater than ourselves to receive the gift of serenity in sobriety.
Thanks, Gloria. I hadn’t thought about how this principle applies to AA, but that makes perfect sense.