And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, and all the more as you see to Day approaching. — Heb 10:25
The Bible exhorts us to gather together, and truth is, sometimes we feel like it and sometimes we don’t. With Women Rock Conference just a few weeks away and registrations in full-swing, I thought we’d take a look at reasons we gather. Why does God tell us to gather and to keep gathering? Why should we take time and resources, make a plan, carve out a day, and block out our calendars to come together? There are simply many, many reasons, from the very personal to the very social. One thing is true: there is a real power in gathering together. God’s manifested presence is found when His people gather. Here are six simple yet life-giving reasons we gather. I hope they encourage you to make the time, put forth the effort, and chose to be part of what God is doing!
It feels really good to be around people who see you, love you, and want God’s best for you. But encouragement is much more than a feeling, it is an actual spiritual exchange taking place. 1Thess 5:11 says “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” To encourage is to come alongside and strengthen. It requires being together, gathering with others. A hug, a greeting, a smile, a positive word - all small things that communicate: I see you, You matter, You are important, You belong… and each one is a dose of encouragement and a way to come alongside and strengthen each other that actually pushes aside the lies that can cloud our hearts and minds and cause us to forget we are an essential part of God’s family. Encouragement reaches right into darkness and brings light, it is God supernaturally working through us to strengthen and come alongside us in on our journey!
Have you ever stubbed your toe, hit your thumb with a hammer, or hit your funny bone at just the right spot and felt that twinge run down your arm? Ouch! Even though just one part of you is affected, your entire body reacts. Your mind, your emotions, your facial expressions, your words… every part of you responds to the pain. As believers, we are part of a body, the body of Christ. We each have our own unique roles, jobs, family, and friends, even so, we are one body. Eph 4:16 NLT tells us, “He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” God designed His body in such a way that we all need each other. What good is a toe, thumb, or funny bone, if it is not connected to a body? None. We gather so that we can stay connected and grow together as one body. We don’t grow alone, but we do grow in our connectedness, it’s God’s design to connect us so we can be a healthy body full of the love of God.
Every one of us was created to be part of something greater than ourselves! We are one piece in God’s masterpiece. Ever put a puzzle together only to find one piece is missing? What a letdown! All of a sudden the value of one piece takes on much greater significance in our eyes because it gives meaning to the whole - the one piece actually makes or breaks the whole puzzle. It’s true about a single puzzle piece and it is true about us! Eph 2:10 NLT - “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Our significance is in being one part of the masterpiece. When we gather we are reminded that we are an important piece God’s masterpiece. It’s together that we pray, give, and reach out to others. It’s together we can feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the prisoners. When we are together, each piece of the puzzle doing its part, we are part of something greater than ourselves. We each complete the puzzle!
When we gather, we worship. Worship is simply exalting God, by doing so everything else is diminished. God doesn’t actually get bigger or stronger because of our worship, but our hearts are reminded of how truly great and completely good He is. The declarations in the songs we sing together in the corporate atmosphere of faith, bring us to a place of surrender and open us to the power of God. When we worship the worries and concerns we bring lose their power. Psa 145:4 NKJV instructs us to worship together. “One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts.” This is corporate worship, one generation reminding the next, that God is greater than everything else, that God acts mightily on behalf of His people. When people of every generation declare the praises of God, it tells the story of God’s faithfulness. But worship is not just about singing, worship happens as we chat, share, listen, and celebrate His wonderful works. Our hearts are changed as we lift up Jesus together and God is given greater reign in our hearts and in our midst.
At some point, every new car gets a little road dust on it and must be washed to be renewed. The same is true for us, as believers we are new creations in Christ, yet life often leaves us with some road dust. When we gather, we take in God’s Word, which is like a good washing! Eph 5:26 tells us Jesus sanctifies and washes us with His Word, there is an actual transformation that takes place as we sit under God’s Word together. Rom 12:2 invites you to, “...be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what [is] that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” As we sit, listen, and receive the Word of God we are renewed and transformed into the image-bearers God created us to be and we reflect the multifaceted beauty of God to the world. The power of the Word of God to transform our lives is reason enough to gather together! But there’s more…
Eyes on the prize!
Distraction is the name of the game in our day. God has plans, purpose, peace, and provision for our lives but the enemy wants us drawn away and distracted into defeat. When we gather we are reminded of God’s good plans and refocused on the things that really matter which helps us keep our eyes on the prize. 1Co 9:24 NLT - “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!” We can’t win if we don’t know what or where the prize is… the plans, purpose, peace, and provision He promised is to be found. We’ll be running in all kinds of directions. This is also why we gather, so we always keep our eyes on the prize and remind each other when we start heading in the wrong direction. Together we cast our cares on Jesus, reposition our hearts, set our eyes on Him and begin to walk corporately towards all He has for us. When we do it together, we have people to lean on, learn with, and celebrate the victories on the journey.
God’s designed His kids to be part of a family. He wants us to do life together. He is the One that decided that He would inhabit the praises of His people. He is the One who decided that He would be in the midst of those gathered in His name. He is the one who knows us and knows that is in the “togetherness” we will see the breakthrough, receive freedom, and grow into all God has for US! Don’t miss out on what God has for you at Women Rock and every time we gather!
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