As a Christian, there will be times when you feel like you’re on top of the world. Your faith is strong, your relationship with God is thriving, and you feel invincible! But there will also be times when you’re struggling – your faith feels weak, and God feels farther away than ever. We read verses like Hebrews 10:23 that remind us to “hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm,” but have no idea where we can even find that hope in the first place.
If you’re feeling this way, know that you’re not alone. It’s normal – even expected – to experience seasons like this. Jesus says, "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows” (John 16:33). We aren’t promised an easy life, but we can still have a good life. This starts with taking inventory of the habits we have in place to keep our faith going – and a crucial one is being around people who will encourage you and spur you on.
Here are three things you can expect when you consistently gather with others:
1. You will experience God’s presence
Your individual time with God is an essential building block for your faith, but it’s not an exclusive way to get to know God’s character and familiarize yourself with his word. Jesus said in Matthew 18:20 that “where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” That means that when you’re gathering with others for the purpose of learning from the Bible, worshiping God, and talking to him through prayer, you will experience God’s presence in a different way than you would on your own.
2. You will be encouraged by others
Can you think of someone whose story inspires and motivates you? How would your outlook or your perspective toward your own circumstances be different if you never knew this person or never got to hear about their journey? There’s something about hearing others’ stories, seeing their unwavering faith, and watching them overcome even the most difficult situations that restores our own faith. Hebrews 10:24 reminds us to “think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” When you come to church, you can be encouraged by the inspiring faith of others!
3. Others will be encouraged by you
Believe it or not, the encouragement from gathering is two-way street. Not only can you be inspired by others’ faith, but they can be encouraged by yours too! You may not feel like you have a lot to give, but be encouraged by Matthew 5:14-15, which says, “You are the light of the world – like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.” In isolation, we’re a lot like a lamp under a basket. We have our own unique gifts and our own story to share with others, but we can’t do that when we’re by ourselves. It’s when we join with others that our light can truly shine!
It doesn’t take a lot of effort to encourage others. While you may feel compelled to pray for someone or share your story, something as simple as a friendly greeting or singing along during worship can inspire someone else. The important thing is your mindset – if your priority at church is looking for what you will get out of it, your experience may fall flat. But if you’re looking for what others at your church can gain by your participation, you may be surprised just how much God will impact others through you! If you’re ready to take a bigger step to impact others at church, consider taking your next step to serve or share your story through Baptism.
If your faith tank is running on empty and you’re looking for encouragement, you’re not going to find it in isolation. Hebrews 10:25 reminds us not to “neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of [Christ’s] return is drawing near.” Gathering with others is a simple but effective way to find motivation and inspiration in our own faith journey.
If you haven’t already, consider making a commitment to go to church every week for the next six weeks. Do whatever you need to do to make it a priority, and plan to participate – not show up as a consumer or spectator on the sidelines. If you live near one of our locations, we’d love to see you in person! If attending on-site isn’t an option for you, church online is a great way to stay in the habit of gathering.
LCBC stands for Lives Changed By Christ. We are one church in multiple locations across Pennsylvania. Find the location closest to you or join us for Church Online. We can’t wait to connect with you!