Well, Free Range Bible study went well last night. We camped out in John 4:1-42 and looked at Jesus’ conversation with the woman of Samaria at Jacob’s Well in Sychar. Their treat for showing up and putting up with me was a “peep”. You know…those Easter marshmallows in the shape of baby chicks covered in yellow granulated sugar! Yeah, those peeps. I thought that was a good way to introduce them to Free Range Bible study. They also had bottled spring water as a reminder of water that runs out vs. the living water that springs from the fountain of life and is everflowing and never runs dry.
As I left them last night in their enthusiasm for being washed in the water of the Word and began to look forward to meeting with the Thursday chicks for Hebrews, I was reminded of a verse in Hebrews 10. The writer exhorts the recipients to not neglect assembling together as believers.
Have you dropped out of church? You’ll never find a perfect one this side of heaven, but God has called you to belong. Have you given up on Bible study with others? So what if you can’t make it each week! Go when you can and be nourished. Just don’t give up on all of it all the time forever. Can’t manage the load of homework? Shame on you! Just kidding…checking to see if you’re really reading. Ha!
I know of someone who is going through a tough time. The overwhelming circumstances are causing her to struggle and she feels like she can’t move another step. This place for this season in her life has left her feeling alone and abandoned by others. It’s a shame. She’s trying to be a lone ranger Christian.
I have had times when I was overwhelmed and I would avoid times of meeting with others. I did what I absolutely had to do and nothing more. Walk in church on time and leave quickly as soon as it was over; anything to avoid having to make eye contact or engage in conversation (some of you may find that hard to believe). I realize now that I was being a lone ranger Christian. At least I was in church, but I might as well have been a thousand miles away from a steeple. I was so alone. I thought.
Once I gave myself permission to let down my guard and take off the mask of put-togetheredness we women can wear, I found my friends were supportive and encouraging and God used them to help me get back up. Their encouragement helped me. That’s an example of how spurring one another on works and that’s why God exhorts us to not forsake meeting together.
It really spoke to me last night as I was rounding the corner for home. Our Christian walk is not about being “lone rangers” going about life alone. We are part of a body of believers and we need to spur one another on in several ways:
- to love
- to good deeds (as a result of our faith and calling)
- in using our spiritual gifts to minister to the body
- in fellowship (meals and social times), just hanging out (hello coffee house)
That assembling together can be done in a number of ways, but I believe in the context of this letter, the author of Hebrews is reminding them of their need to hold fast to the hope of their confession of Christ. They were being persecuted for their faith. They needed to assemble together for sound teaching. So, with that in mind, assemble
- at church
- in Bible study
- a small group studying the Word together
- as mentors/mentees
- long-distance phone conversation over a Bible study you’re doing with a friend far away
You need not be a lone ranger Christian. You need other believers; iron sharpening iron, is what the Bible calls it.
Yes, there are times when God calls you out for a period of aloneness, but it’s only temporary. We were meant to belong to each other, looking after each other, loving one another, and discipling others as we press on toward maturity.
No more lone rangers.
As Steven Curtis Chapman sings, “Saddle up your horses. WE’VE got a trail to blaze.”
To hear this song, “This is the Great Adventure,” click today’s post title and it will take you to the music video. Enjoy!