Over the last two years or so I have repeatedly come across a general feeling among some of my fellow beleivers that has been disturbing to me. It is by no means something that I think makes them bad people, or that in truth even effects their Salvation. It does, however, effect their daily walk and the relationship that God wants to have with them. Many times I have heard statements that are in truth, complaints. Things like "Why don't we have more things for the men to get toegther and bond?", "I just wish there were more opportunities for people to get to know each other, really know each other," or "We're not going anywhere, but he's just not really happy here," and the one that has really been the kicker for me, "I just don't feel like I can grow spiritually here." (this one has often been stated about one's spouse and not the individual speaking) My concern and irritation with these kind of comments as been growing and I've been thinking a lot about what they mean and what it is that our "regular" services should actually be doing for people. I had come to the conclusion that most of these statements come from two places:
1. The person who feels a desire for more connection to God and their Christian family, but who hasn't realized that is what they are looking for exactly.
2. The person (in the case of the last statement) who recognizes their desire to "grow spiritually" and feels that should be happening by simply attending church.
I think I have more empathy with person #1. I've been there. It took me a long time to get through the frustration of wanting more time with God and wanting more time to build relationships with God's people. Want to know what got me through? I started creating opportunities to spend more time with my brothers and sisters. I started plugging in to what was already available and intentionally spending time with my church family OUTSIDE of Sunday and Wednesday services. Going through that procces led me to feel the desire expressed by person #2. I had begun to truly bond with my sisters in Christ, I saw my husband begin relationships with some brothers yet I still found myself feeling like I wanted more.....it was God I needed, not just His children. That's when I started this blog. The journey over the last few months has been amazing and I look forward to the rest of my life walking daily closer to my Father.
So why does the #2 statement up there bother me so much? I guess I get frustrated because I really don't beleive the function of Sunday morning is to "grow spiritually." I don't think that really happens until you start an intentional seeking for a closer relationship with God. Yesterday as I was reading in The Pursuit of God I read the following:
How tragic that we in this dark day have had our seeking done for us by our teachers.
Nail on the head. There are so many who want someone else to do all the seeking and discerning and then just hand them the lesson on a nice little platter. Now, I'm not saying there is anything wrong with learning from another person's journey. I actually do beleive that's part of why God calls us to fellowship - so we can share our lessons with one another. But the truth is that learning from others, or listening to sermons, is NEVER going to replace the richness of the relationship with God that is available to us when we earnestly seek Him on our own.
I can tell you honestly that I have sought God in spurts throughout my life. In the last 6 months I have sought Him more deliberatey than ever before and the relationship I have with Him now, the way I can so clearly see Him working in me and my life, the blessing of peace that I feel daily is more than I can put into words. Brothers and sisters, God desires a relationship with YOU. And whether you have come to understand it or not, you desire a relationship with Him. It's there for you, all you have to do is pursue it. He is so happy to see you there on Sunday morning, but He has so much more He wants to share with you if you will seek Him out the rest of the week as well.
Paris has been a great example of this a basic principle for me as of late. She is in a constant state of desire to have one-on-one time with me or Easy (or even her Graggie!). It seems to not matter that I spend ALL day with the kids. It's not just being in the house with me she wants. It's not even sitting in the floor playing with everyone that she wants. What she wants is me all to herself for as long as possible - sometimes just to sit together with no one else around. I realize that is how we should be with God. That is how I've become. I am in constant need of time alone with Him. I don't always want to play with my Christian siblings. I want one-on-one time with my Father God - sometimes just to sit together. You can't get that on Sunday mornings. My hope for everyone reading this is that you recognize that a desire for God alone is the need that stirs up all those comments we here, and sometimes make ourselves, about that "state of things" wherever we worship. When I hear comments like those I hope God can use me in some way to help that person find what they are looking for. To find in themselves the truth that they are a child of God and, as it iswith all children, what they desire more than anything else is a relationship with their Father.
Just a few of my thoughts as of late..............