“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another…” Hebrews 10:24-25
In our media saturated world, with podcasts, RightNow.org, eBooks, and streamed worship services, why do we even need to gather? I once met a young woman whose “church” was watching the televised ministry of First Presbyterian while vacuuming her condo (I just assumed she had the closed caption on). For most people, faith has become a private, individual affair and worship is an event to occasionally attend. We isolate ourselves into our corners constantly repeating the refrain “Don’t judge” and in doing so, our faith remains flimsy and impractical.^
A few years ago friends started a workout company. The premise was that they would drive all of their equipment to your house, and lead you through an hour workout. The business plan on paper seemed to meet a niche need; then they met the people. After struggling for a while, their conclusion to me was that “If people are too committment-phobic to even drive to a gym, their lack of discipline is quickly exposed. By the time we arrive, it is too late. They’ve made some excuse or plan that prevents any regular discipline to emerge.”
The same is true of our spiritual lives. Reread the above Hebrews quote. What’s amazing is that this was written to Christians in Jerusalem about 60 years after Christ’s death…in other words the second generation of Christians. That is how quickly people had given up meeting together.
Notice the language “as some are in the habit of doing.” The author calls the act of Christians not meeting together as a habit. In fact, this is only habit (ethos) described in the New Testament of the church.
Consider how that reverses our expectations. The normal and natural thing for Christians is to meet together; it takes a “habit” NOT to come together.
Often I hear people say, I want to get into the habit of coming to church. This is backwards–because if you actually start building out friendships with people of faith, you will find that this is not a habit to be worked on but the most natural way to spend time. You will want to have Biblical discussions, you will want to pray together, you will want to sing songs of praise.
Yet for that natural desire to come together, it happens through the formation of a genuine community. What we need is to break our habit of commitment-phobia. What we need is a spiritual challenge that encourages us, and spurs us on towards love and good deeds.
Where is your faith being challenged? Who are you spurring on? What is your genuine community of faith?
^Tweetable Footnote: the reason faith seems irrelevant is not because of its age, but because of your attitude.