Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:23-25)
What It Means to Be Human
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said that “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
Human beings aren’t made to merely perform. We’re made to love. By design, we possess an innate capacity to long for an “endless immensity” that satisfies our hearts and masters our desires. Or as author James K.A. Smith puts it, “We aren’t really motivated by abstract ideas or pushed by rules and duties. Instead. . .to be human is to be a lover and to love something ultimate.”
Unfortunately, loving that which is ultimate is our biggest hang-up. Each day, we wake up in a world that groans in cosmic travail because of the problem of sin (Rom. 8:22). And what’s worse, we ourselves are the problem!
Although we’ve been gloriously redeemed by the grace of God, we still feel the ache of sin deep in our bones. We feel it every time we scold our kids in fuming anger, indulge a lustful fantasy, or over-eat as a way of coping with life’s problems. In all these ways and more, we’re guilty of doing what is spoken of in Romans 1:25, “they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped the creature rather than the Creator.” We’ve taken wholehearted love for that which is ultimate and traded it for something far less. And it has sabotaged our humanity, making us blind to the “endless immensity” we were made to know and enjoy.
Exchanging Lies For The Truth
The hard truth is that we have a worship problem. We’ve forgotten what it means to be human. We’ve forsaken our first love (Rev. 2:4). And this is very serious–even deadly!
Yet God is offering us the most effective remedy there is. He rebuilds our humanity in Christ by first reconciling us to Himself and being present in our daily lives through His Word and Spirit. And still He goes even further. There is yet another crucial part of His re-humanizing work in our lives—the local church regularly meeting together to “stir up one another toward love and good works” (Heb. 10:24).
Meeting together to worship the Lord and encourage His people is an essential means by which God’s reality begins to take its full effect in our hearts. It’s how Romans 1:27—our exchanging the truth about Him for a lie—gets gloriously reversed. In life together, we’re learning how to exchange the lies about God for the truth. He designed the local church to be a place where false worship can die so that true worship can flourish. You’re part of LifePoint Church because God wants to work on your heart to deal thoroughly with your worship problem.
But so much of the time we don’t think of it that way. We revert to thinking of church in terms of performing a religious duty. Thus we dodge God’s grace, never giving Him room to deal with our worship problem. Why? Because it’s painful to know the truth about ourselves. It’s much more comfortable to never face the fact that we’ve become “enslaved to those who by nature are not gods” (Gal. 4:8). So we keep the church at arms length, never allowing the sermons, ordinances, songs and fellowship to penetrate our hearts and bring God’s grace to the places that need it most. And thus we fall tragically short of experiencing His re-humanizing work in the midst of His gathered people.
So as it stands, there are two options before us—two ways of seeing Sundays at LifePoint. Will you settle for the mundanity of halfheartedly “collecting wood”? Or will you open the eyes of your heart to stare long and hard at the sea until you re-discover what it means to long for its “endless immensity”? Your answer to that question is a matter of love and desire versus empty performance. It’s a matter of gathering to “hold fast to the confession of our hope” (Heb. 10:23) versus going through the motions of lovelessly completing a religious task to put God in your debt. So which will it be for us? I pray we will come to stir others and be stirred in the truth about God for the glory of His name and the flourishing of His people.