Scripture tells us we shouldn’t be “neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some,” but should gather together, “encouraging one another” (Hebrews 10:25). When we back away from the local church, we often engage in spiritual isolation that’s likely to not only distance us from God’s work but also sour us and our children to the good (though less-than-perfect) work churches are doing.
In this article from Desiring God, David Mathis draws a compelling connection between being part of the local church and developing healthy spiritual habits in life. I truly believe the key to spirituality is the development of little habits, such as Bible reading and memorization and prayer, and certainly that includes the habit of being part of a church.
I’m well aware that many who love Jesus have become weary of churches and have lost faith that local churches and their pastors can be faithful to Christ. After several bad experiences they have given up on the church. But Jesus doesn’t give up on us, and I suggest that it’s not for us to give up on the church that is just like us—imperfect.
So if you’ve walked away from churches, maybe it’s time to walk back, perhaps to a new church or an old one, and enter with the question, “Lord, what can I do to serve this church and help its people love you more and experience the wonders of your grace? And in the process, I will trust you to work in my heart.”
In putting one foot in front of the other, week after week, day after day, we become the kind of person who grows and endures in our faith in Jesus rather than someone whose devotion withers and dies. May we all develop the holy habit of corporate worship:
The final frontier of biological research is still the enigmatic human brain. And at the cutting edge of recent study has been this phenomenon we call “habits.” One important finding has been what researchers and popularizers call “keystone habits” — simple, but catalytic new routines that inspire other fresh patterns of behavior.
Take, for example, the habit of drinking more water daily. A little intentionality here might lead to making better food choices, and may even help inspire exercise. For some, quitting smoking is a keystone habit that starts a domino effect of good lifestyle changes. For others, simply forming the habit of putting on running shoes in the morning leads to walking for exercise, then light jogging, and eventually to becoming a full-fledged regular runner.
Find the right keystone, and you could unleash a string of good habits in your life.
Keystone for Christians?
While I cannot commend one keystone habit that will make the difference for every believer, I do want to speak up on behalf of one weekly habit that is utterly essential to any healthy, life-giving, joy-producing Christian walk: corporate worship. And it is all too often neglected, or taken very lightly, in our day of disembodiment and in our proclivity for being noncommittal. In fact, I do not think it is too strong to call corporate worship the single most important habit of the Christian life.
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