There are many in the Body of Christ who are in transition
between "going" to church and "being" the Church. The Lord
is speaking to many at once and calling them aside from the
traditional church building meeting to gather together in
homes. The more in tune with the Lord we become, the more
dissatisfied and uncomfortable we become with what is being
said and done in His Name. Yet, there is an uncomfortable
pause between where we used to be and where we are called to
be. It is a lonely time in which we will be misunderstood by
many that have not seen what we have seen.
What God is impressing upon many of us who are in-between
the church as a building and the church as a lifestyle is
how to walk ALONE. We must not forsake the assembling of
ourselves together when we are able to do so; yet God would
have us learn to fellowship with Christ, even it means to
take the lonely path.
Many times the desire to find other "like-minded believers"
is not a spiritual desire. It is rather our emotion, our
soul, which longs to be with people who understand us. We
must love not our life (Greek: soul life) and be willing to
go for a time without the comfort and fellowship of brothers
and sisters if God has called us unto Himself. If we simply
MUST be in the accompaniment of other brothers and sisters
in order to have any sense of Christ then we are not abiding
in Him as we ought.
In many parts of the world brothers and sisters in Christ
are not able to meet together because of persecution. They
would certainly desire to do so if they could, but if they
cannot, how will they maintain fellowship and connectivity
to the Body if they are unable to gather? Why, they must
know Christ as Fellowship. Abiding in Him, connected to the
Head, they maintain oneness with the rest of the Body.
Someone will say, "We are not persecuted. We have the
freedom to gather together. Should we not take advantage of
our liberty as Christians and fellowship at every
opportunity?" The answer is yes, we should thank God for our
freedom and make the most of it. But my question to you is,
what will your spiritual state be like when that liberty is
no longer permitted? Have you resources within yourself to
stay in your place of abiding in Christ, or is your
usefulness to God limited by your ability to fellowship with
others? Can you maintain connectivity to the Body when
isolated, or will you grow faint and fall away?
Some are able to maintain a sweet spirit so long as they are
in fellowship with other believers. But when God allows that
fellowship to be interrupted, observe how quickly that sweet
spirit turns sour. They will even acknowledge their poor
state and say things like, "My temper has become awful. It
is because I have been out of church. I must go back this
Sunday." Then they will go back to church, feel uplifted,
and the sweet spirit returns. Sadly, this is the experience
of a majority of people who have not learned to take Christ
as their Life. Is this walking in the Spirit? It is not.
It is true that "whenever two or three are gathered in My
Name, there I am." Praise God for such truth. It is
equally true that, "I am with YOU always (singular)." We
do not want to be lone ranger Christians who do not seek
fellowship with other members of Christ's Body. At the same
time, we cannot allow the absence of such fellowship to make
us despondent or depressed, should we be deprived of it. If
it causes us to fall away, then perhaps this is the reason
God allows us to go through periods of solitude, that we may
be reduced to CHRIST as our Fellowship.
When we find ourselves in such a place, let us not be too
quick to seek out others until we have reaped the benefits
of being alone with God. Let us remember that Christ's Body
is a spiritual Body. Being in the physical presence of other
members does not make us more of a member, and being removed
from the physical presence of other members does not make us
any less a member. Of course the exact opposite is true for
those meeting together as an institution; without their
physical presence and support they lose place as a member.
But not Christ's Body, the Church. We are not more or less
of a member by reason of our physical contact or lack of
physical contact with one another.
And again, we may thirst for fellowship not so much to edify
the Body as to be edified ourselves - a mindset carried over
from when we used to go to church to "be fed" once or twice
a week. If this is the case, it is no wonder that God would
have us look to Him alone as our Edification and learn to
draw upon Him before placing us in close proximity with
others. One weakness of the institutional church is that the
majority of members are coming to receive, to be edified, to
be encouraged, to be fed. It is all "take", and very little
"give". Hence, there is little Life.
When we learn to draw upon Christ as our Source we will have
abundance to give away. Fellowship with others cannot
replace our daily abiding in Him. If we gather together in
the Name of the Lord, yet outside of Christ, we will have
much religious carrying's on but little Life to impart to
one another. God would have us look to His Son as our Life,
and as we do we find our need is met. Then, when we gather
together, we are givers and not takers, and with all giving
out of Christ, we have the blessing we sought.
Let us press into Christ with all our heart, and not be
discouraged if we find ourselves temporarily without the
fellowship and comfort of our brothers and sisters. Though
we are lonely, we are never alone.
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