Cheryl is a poet, freelance writer, author, and former newspaper columnist. She has degrees in Psychology and Biblical studies
Stinking thinking in the church
In my 62 years on this earth, I have attended many funeral services. In recent years something has been catching my attention. I have noticed that eulogists mention how the deceased was a good church worker, gave lots of money, or was the armor-bearer for the pastor. I've listened as speakers said how the person being eulogized was the first to get to the building each week and the last to leave and attended every service. The bottom line to all of this is that it is one man,(or woman) giving their opinion of what they consider to be faithfulness to God when in reality it could simply be attentiveness to a church routine. Measuring a walk with the Lord based on activities does no indicate where one is spiritually. Consider that a boss could say the same regarding a job. The deceased may have worked 30 years without calling in sick, and been a faithful employee. It is possible that someone could be active in church and serve on many committees or ministries and be a great helper to the pastor, but never grow spiritually. This is why basing a walk with Christ on activities is stinking thinking.
The supernatural must be evident
John 4:24 says: "God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth. Every believer who is filled with His Holy Spirit should show supernatural evidence of a relationship with Him because He is a Spirit. In my walk with the Lord in later years I have been able to look at strangers and see the glory of God on them ad recognize that they are a part of a "Spirit embracing church community." What I am referring to is churches where speaking in tongues and moves of His Spirit are welcomed. Sometimes I will ask individuals where they worship and then tell them I saw His presence all over them. When you encounter believers who are laying hands and seeing the sick healed, casting out demons, and experiencing miracles, this is evidence that they walk with the Lord. His power and presence are what determines where a believer in Christ is spiritually.
Spiritual maturity in action
Those who walk close with Him will also be aware of the times we are living in. Those who are prophetic will give warnings that come to pass. At the beginning of 2020 Facebook was filled with the usual false predictions such as 2020 was going to be the year of blessings, and due season. Many also coined the phrase that 2020 vision was coming. In the midst, a few people warned that Our Father was showing them that something bad was coming and that people should brace themselves. One person posted that the Lord showed her that something catastrophic was going to hit the word and you know that it did. Even with these warnings, the majority of "Christians" were posting that 2020 was going to be their year and they were going to get their stuff and God was going to elevate them. Mature believers took heed to the warnings but the spiritually immature were blindsided in a way that is actually shocking. I am seeing people post that they want a do-over and for 2020 to go away. Mature believers understand that we are closer each day to Christ's return and the Bible must be fulfilled.
The church location
One of the biggest factors regarding walking as a mature believer is in regard to the identity of His church. Pastors who tell their congregations that the building is not the church but where we come together to worship are few and far between, but they are accurate. Many preachers teach that we cannot please the Lord unless we join a local assembly and begin working in ministries and tithing. They emphasize Malachai 3:8-10 which actually was written to priests who were stealing the tithes. They also push Hebrews 10:25 which scholars indicate is not referring to assembling in a building, but the assembling of the saints when Christ returns. People can join a church, give money, and join boards and ministries without knowing Christ. Likewise, there are believers who do not belong to a local assembly but they are mature in their walk because they seek Him daily. Jesus told His disciples that he would make them fishers of men and to preach His gospel in all the world. He also advised that believers should be salt and light in this world. Mature Christians understand that they are His church every day and everywhere they go. They don't wait until Sunday to "get their praise on." Yes David said, "I was glad when they said unto me let us go into the house of the Lord." (Psalm 122:1) This, however, was before the veil was rent. Our bodies are His temple,(I Corinthians 6:19) whether we attend an organized church gathering or not. You may have your name written on the role of a church building and your pastor may attempt to preach you into heaven at your funeral, but: It is more important that you are a member of His Household of Faith, (Galatians 6:10) that your name is written in the Lambs book of life.(Revelation 21:27) and that Christ says to you, "Well done.("Matthew 25:23).
Time to grow
The coronavirus has changed everything that most of us believed regarding the church but not everyone is learning the same lesson. Some pastors are keeping their churches closed until next year, a few never stopped holding services and others are gathering in parking lots. A number of believers are realizing that walking with Him is more than adhering to the rules of a local assembly while others are miserable that they cannot perform their usual Sunday routine. It's never been about you to your Sunday to sing, pray, preach, or usher. It's always been about bringing souls into His kingdom. `The attitude that we have during this pandemic and how we proceed through this process will be one of the biggest determining factors of spiritual maturity in Christ or dedication to a pastor and a building. It's time to grow in His Holy Spirit but not everyone will be coming along. Our lives should be filled with evidence of His Spirit more than they are with church activities.
© 2020 Cheryl E Preston
Cheryl E Preston (author) from Roanoke on August 17, 2020:
Yes you are correct. I am watching for this also. Thank you for reading.
Ambrie Anders on August 17, 2020:
It'll be very interesting to see which churches grow and strive to encourage spirituality, despite not being able to meet together during this pandemic.
Cheryl E Preston (author) from Roanoke on August 11, 2020:
Yes it really is
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 10, 2020:
Maybe I am just getting older. The spiritual is easier now than the ordinary.