Challenge Central: a CBC devotional
By: Lars Janssen
Where do you want to be right now?
If asked this question at any given moment of the day, many of us might answer that we would want to be somewhere other than where we are. But where? What place did you think of?
Over the past weekend, our church family was encouraged and challenged by Dr. David Schmidt as he preached at our Anniversary Bible Conference. On Saturday night he made us laugh and reminded us how good it is to be with God’s family! He told us that the last line in Psalm 122:1, which is translated, “Let us go to the house of the LORD,” is actually just three words in Hebrew: “House…LORD…let’s go!” Here is a rallying cry on the way out of our homes when we go to see our church family, whether it’s on a Sunday morning for a worship service or another time for a committee meeting, Growth Group, or a church family party.
However, we can come to dread seeing our church family for various reasons. Perhaps we’re struggling with sin we don’t want anyone to see, or maybe we’re exhausted and we don’t think we could force out a smile if we tried, or we don’t want to face that person who said that unpleasant thing we can’t push out of our minds. Things like these may keep us away, but these reasons are exactly why we should resolve to never stay away from our church family.
Dr. Schmidt reminded us on Sunday morning that our “help comes from the LORD” (Psalm 121:2). Because this is true, we can remind each other that God is our helper, protector, defender, and preserver. And think about it, how would we ever survive in this confusing world without church family members who will remind us of reality in Jesus? Let me remind you of how this reality works out in a few ways:
- The Father sent Jesus to conquer our sin, “nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14), so we don’t have to hide our struggles with sin from our church family. Every Christian in our church family has admitted inadequacy in the face of sin and a desperate need for Jesus!
- Our exhaustion is real, but we persevere through the Holy Spirit’s “energy that he powerfully works within” us (Colossians 1:29), so we don’t have to pretend we’re not tired. We need our church family the most when we are so exhausted that we come to the end of ourselves.
- When we are hurt and repelled by someone in our church family, we can forgive “as the Lord has forgiven” us (Colossians 3:13), so we must fight that self-righteous urge to stay away and become bitter. We are forgiven so much that we can see friction within the church family as an opportunity to forgive others like Jesus forgives—to become more like Jesus.
The next time you come to see your church family, think of it in the reality that Jesus makes known. Think of the hope, the joy, and the great comfort of being with your church family. Maybe even say it out loud on your way out of your home: