Connecting With God In Church

October 1, 2012

Friends,
Many people went to church yesterday. But why? Why did they go? Did they go so as to uphold their good reputation? Or did they go to please someone else? –Or to meet someone? Did they go to hear God’s Word, be entertained, or get inspired?

Hopefully, when we go to church our main desire is to connect with God. This we certainly can do on our own at home, but the Lord also wants us to grow as members of His Body so that we may rise up together as a holy temple for Him to dwell in by His Spirit. (Eph. 2:19-22) He wants individual temples, and He wants corporate temples. But all His temples are to be holy. Otherwise there will be a disconnect between God and the Body part, and this will cause disunity within the Body at large.

So, since it is crucial that each member of the Body come to corporate worship so as to connect with God as a whole Body, and if this connection can happen with a free flow only when the individual members come with pure hearts, minds, and lives, what happens when either of these two necessities are not present? In rephrasing the question, what if people are coming to church even while harboring uncleanness within themselves and have little or no intention of making a genuine effort to reach out to God?

Well, this seems a bit like the situation described in Mark 5:24-34: Jesus was being followed by a large crowd who was pressing in on Him, almost crushing Him (as Luke 8:42 records it). Clearly, they were in close contact with Christ, they could see and hear Him, they believed in Him (at least somewhat –in believing He was a great teacher and miracle-worker), and they were interested in what He was doing –teaching, healing, feeding, rebuking… It was a show for them that they didn’t want to miss.

But were they connecting with Jesus? Some maybe were to some extent. But who connected fully? It was the woman who reached out, touched the hem of Christ’s garment, and was healed. And interestingly, she was healed without Jesus deciding to heal her, for healing power just automatically went out from Him into her! (Mark 5:30)

This is an encouragement for us all. For it teaches us something very exciting, and that is, that if we possess what this woman possessed, we too can be assured of healing.

What did this woman possess? She had a need and she had a desire to be made well. We often have those. However, she also had faith. And her faith healed her! Jesus says it right there in verse 34: “Daughter, your faith has healed you.” Being that Jesus gives similar statements elsewhere, this means that any of us can grab ahold of faith for our needs, for we’ve been extended all we need to walk spiritually strong and victorious. Yes, the power comes from Jesus, but our faith enacts it. Lack of faith weakens, even negates, His power toward us just as if contaminants were stirred into clean, life-giving water. For because God watches for faith in people (see Heb. 11:6), His power cannot heal those who don’t believe. (Mark 6:5,6)

The same holds true for those who need their emotions healed, their souls saved, their lives freed of sin. Look at what Jesus says to the woman in the rest of verse 34: “Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” If we apply this to ourselves, Jesus would be saying to us, “Child, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your soul’s affliction.”

God’s healing to our souls is promised throughout His Word. But what is the necessary ingredient? It’s faith. And what stimulates faith? Our desperation! We have a great need and we want to be healed of it so badly that we muster up faith in God for it. We call out to Him and He breathes toward us the available faith (which He’s extended toward everyone) and we again have the choice to grab ahold –or to doubt. But doubt often wins (even as the cries for faith continue) because the world’s and the devil’s lies are being listened to more than is the Word of God.

So, when the church crowds are jostling against each other and pressing in against the Lord through worship songs, prayer, Scripture reading and teaching… who in the crowd is really connecting with the Lord? And if a true connection can only happen within pure temples, desperate hearts, and faith-filled spirits, maybe the lack of those explains why churches are deficient in the unity, strength, holiness, and health necessary to grow up into that one functioning Body which is supposed to be a beautiful dwelling in which God’s Spirit lives.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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