Help When I Need It
“The Lord spoke clearly to me, 'I have never abandoned you. You have abandoned me. You walked away from my church.”
There was one piece of advice a church leader told our senior class before we went to college that I did not understand or take to heart. “The first few weeks of college you need to find a church and get plugged in,” he said. I thought, “No problem.”
I moved in to my university, made some friends and visited churches, but I did not heed his advice. I did not understand the importance of doing more than attending church. God does not call us to attend; He calls us to belong. I need to be a member of the local church, surrounding myself with people who can hold me accountable and encourage me to stay close to Jesus.
Before I knew it, I was spending my Sundays sleeping in or catching a service every once in a while. I thought, “Well, if I just stay consistent in my quiet times, I’ll be okay.” Before long, I was not having a consistent quiet time either. I didn’t realize that by not plugging into the church I would grow further and further away from the Lord.
As time went on, I began to surround myself with other things that offered only temporary fulfillment. I attended parties that encouraged drunkenness. I dated boys who focused on lusting after me rather than pushing me toward the Holy Spirit. I spent my free time watching television shows that were teaching me “life is all about me…be skinny, wear these clothes, gossip, create drama.” The culture I surrounded myself with continued to pour lie after lie into my heart.
When I would sit down to have a quiet time I would cry to the Lord and say, “Why have You abandoned me? Why am I not hearing from You, Lord?” I felt like I was in a desert.
The Lord spoke clearly to me, 'I have never abandoned you. You have abandoned me. You walked away from my church.'
At first, I didn’t want to return to church, because I assumed people would judge me and look down on my wrong choices. I listened to guilt instead of the truth that there are no perfect people.
But God shows us in Hebrews 10:23-24 that we need to be ready for the hard truths that the Holy Spirit will reveal to us through our pastor and church. We are to “spur one another on.” Yes, it will sting at first, but God commands us to repent, turn from our sin and return to Him. God also says “not to give up meeting together as [I was] in the habit of doing.” I didn’t need only to attend a church on Sundays, I needed encouragement and accountability to move me toward doing all that was right. I was out of the habit and needed to make church priority in my life again.
As I became a member of NewSpring Church and plugged myself into volunteering, I quickly began to join a “cord of [multiple] strands” and now am held accountable to have a quiet time, worship the Lord on Sundays, deal with temptations, and repent of my sins.
Praise God that He has designed each of us to be a part of a body of believers, the church, and we don’t have to do life alone.
Ecclesiastes 4:10-12, “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”