That's my problem with religion. People spend more time focusing on sitting in church than on developing a personal relationship with GOD
— Jacob Bellairs (@JacobBellairs) August 24, 2013
Christianity was never meant to be “Jesus and me, under a tree.” God placed us in the church so that together we can accomplish His mission.
— Tony Evans (@drtonyevans) August 24, 2013
Jacob makes a valid point: There are an awful lot of people who just occupy space on Sunday mornings without growing closer to the living God. You don't earn brownie points with God. He desires to be involved in every aspect of our lives, and so many people put religion in a box. They are one person on Sunday mornings and a different person the rest of the week. And for such a person, even when they are there, are they really worshipping?
But it's so important to avoid falling into the trap of thinking that "sitting in church" and "developing a personal relationship with GOD" are mutually exclusive. The solution to false religion is not to stop sitting in church. Far from it. It's to spend your time - both at church and everywhere else - worshipping God and developing that relationship with him through his Son Jesus.
Which brings me to the other tweet, which really speaks for itself. One of the most dangerous things happening today for the body of Christ is a trend toward Christians who believe they can make it on their own. There is nothing in the Bible indicating that this is God's plan for us.
- For one thing, it's like trying to keep an ember alive apart from a fire. Without the rest of the fuel, it goes out. The fire of faith is fueled by the collective process of you building me up and me building you up. Without that, I'm going to die on a vine. I need you.
- Second, and just as important, the Church of Jesus needs us. We were not called to follow the Messiah, the King, just so we could sit around and wait for the afterlife. Jesus came to announce the Kingdom of God and call his followers to implement his reign. He came to preach good news to the poor, open the eyes of the blind, and set free those who are oppressed (Luke 4:18-19). That's not something I can do on my own. It's a team effort, and how am I going to do it if I decide my faith is "private and personal" and avoid the rest of the Church.
You know, the Church is not called "the body of Christ" for nothing. As Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 12, each part of a body has a role. And if one part decides not to be involved, the whole thing suffers.
So yeah, there is way too much idle church-sitting, people who show up on Sundays out of habit, social convention, or a false sense that they are earning spiritual brownie points. But, especially in 21st century America, I think there is even more danger in the other extreme - "me and Jesus under a tree." God protect me from falling into either trap. Make me a vital part of a living community of Christ-followers. Amen.
For more on this topic,