From Tyler: Today’s post is from pastor and author Daniel Darling. Having written a book on holiness myself I spent a lot of time processing through the role church can play in our development as followers of Jesus. I think Daniel lends a much needed perspective in this post and I’m glad to share it with you.
At the dawn of Creation, there is a singular moment when the Father paused from his creative labors and uttered a bold statement that reflects humanity’s basic need for community.
“It is not good for man to be alone,” the Godhead whispered (Genesis 2:18). This statement was not simply an affirmation of the necessity of a woman for a man. That it is, but it is much more.
It is divine confirmation of something we instinctively know. Humans, created in the image of God, are wired for community. This is a reflection of the Trinity, Who has existed throughout eternity in community.
This is why a relationship with God cannot be worked out in solo, why individual spirituality cannot ultimately be sustained. And it’s why, in this age of God’s revelation to man, Christ sits at the head of a new community, the Church.
There are many in my generation who are tired of the Church. And they have many good reasons.
Abuse. Neglect. Irrelevance. Politics. Prejudice. Strife.
All experiences that have pushed many good people away. But I want to make the argument, not only that the church is indispensable if you wish to live a purposeful life, but that it may be the most powerful tool in your desire to live holy.
The church is the place where God’s redeemed sinners find strength, but also find sharpening. There is a certain accountability of gathering with other sinners, of hearing the Word of God preached faithfully, and actively giving toward the building up of this local expression of Christ’s body.
In my life, I have found a certain powerful social inertia in faithful commitment to a local church. Not every church provides the sort of grace-filled, one-another community. Some church cultures foster pretense and suspicion, power and privilege. But, if you find a church filled with imperfect, but accountable and serious people, you will find, strength during times of seasons of dryness, rebellion, and temptation.
According to the New Testament, the local gathering of the church is not an optional, add-on benefit for additional growth. It’s vital and essential. Christ died for the Church. He loves Her as His bride. And it is where the Spirit dwells in power to express God’s glory among the nations.
If you want to be holy, you need God’s people.
You need your local church, as flawed and often clumsy as it may be.
Daniel Darling is the Senior Pastor of Gages Lake Bible Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He is the author of Real, Owning Your Christian Faith. You can read his blog or follow him on Twitter.