James 2:14, 19, 24 and 26 says, “My dear brothers and sisters, what good is it if someone claims to have faith but demonstrates no good works to prove it? How could this kind of faith save anyone?… You can believe all you want that there is one true God, that’s wonderful! But even the demons know this and tremble with fear before him, yet they’re unchanged—they remain demons…. So now it’s clear that a person is seen as righteous in God’s eyes not merely by faith alone, but by his works… For just as a human body without the spirit is a dead corpse, so faith without the expression of good works is dead!”
The bold text is pretty bold, pun intended lol. When we have faith, we must also have corresponding actions to match with that faith. That is, when we have faith in God, we must also follow through with the actions that show that we do believe in God. Obedience to God’s word is one of the marks of a believer.
For example, the Bible tells us that we must not neglect meeting with other believers (Hebrews 10:25). In the book of Acts, we see the history of how the Church started and this is something that God had in mind for us. By the way when I use capital C I am referring to the global Church which includes all churches for all believers of Christ everywhere and small c is the local churches.
Jesus loves the Church (Ephesians 5:25-27). He calls the Church His body and He is the head (Colossians 1:18). He calls the Church His Bride and He is the Groom and there will be a wedding in Heaven (Revelations 19:7). Now I don’t know about you, but if God thinks the Church is important who are we to say otherwise? I know I most certainly don’t want to miss out on the wedding feast in Heaven. I also don’t want to be there as a spectator either. So, best way in is to become part of Jesus’ Bride, the Church.
We know that not all churches are the same (1 Corinthians 12:12-20). We all have different roles and different purposes in the Earth and so there are different churches which fulfill different roles and purposes in the Earth. So, you can’t just roll the dice and go to any church. You have to be Spirit led in picking a church. God is more than happy to help with the process so make sure you include Him. Exercise your faith in this. Let the peace of God lead you and just because it is convenient, it does not mean it is for you.
Once you are in church, make sure you get planted. What do I mean by being planted? It’s one thing to be a visitor who occasionally shows up the church. It’s another to dive in and say, “I’m here to stay” and become part of the fabric of the church. The people we are in church with become our God given family and we get to do life together and help each out along the way. You become part of a community. A global community to be precise, the Body of Christ, the Church. One sure way to dive in is to start serving; start volunteering. I find volunteering gives you a sense of responsibility, inclusion and belonging. You feel more connected with the people you serve with and it’s beautiful and it’s of God. As you serve, you’ll find that your God-purpose will begin to unfold.
God does not want us doing our Christian journey alone but be plants us in a church family so we can encourage each other and cheer each other along. Ephesians 1:5 says, “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” Being planted in a church is for our benefit. God is for family. He was a Father long before He was a Creator.
Being part of a family means we show up for family events. Lucky for us, we have a Father who has made sure that we get to meet with each other at least once a week so we get to do life together. So, in faith we must allow God to plant us in a church family and then make sure we show up to that church each week as we act on that faith. Trusting that God will meet with us there and we will have an encounter with Him corporately that we can’t have sitting in our homes listening to podcasts. Don’t get me wrong, podcasts and YouTube sermons are awesome. I use these resources all the time. However, these resources should not be your only source of connection to other believers.
God is very personal. He doesn’t want a long distance Skype relationship with us. He wants to meet with us each week in His house, the church. It’s not about the building or the location. It’s about believers coming together in unity with their hearts turned toward serving Jesus. He promised that where 2 or 3 are gathered in His Name, He will be there in their midst (Matthew 18:20). That doesn’t mean we can’t pray privately at home, it just means there is something that God has reserved to be released when believers gather in His Name.
I pray that God blesses you and helps you find the church that is right for you, if you are not already planted in one. We all carry very different parts of God’s heart. Only when we come together do we begin to see aspects to God that would otherwise remain foreign to us if we lived in isolation.
Love and blessings,