For the preaching
of the cross
is to them that perish
but unto us
which are saved
it is the
power of God.
I Corinthians 1:18 (KJV)
In The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis, the demon Screwtape advises his nephew Wormwood on ways to bring down Christians. This is one that often goes under our radar, because it appeals to our fleshly "what's in it for me" attitudes:
"Surely you know that if a man can’t be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighbourhood looking for the church that ‘suits’ him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches."
Satan wants to keep you from going to church. He'll put distractions in your mind, reservations in your heart, or obstacles in your path. But if he finds that you are too committed to your faith, then he has another tool in his belt: division. He'll make you separate yourself from the family of faith into which the Father has adopted you.
There may be times that require that we look for a new congregation, but those should be extreme times. What we need is a local church "home" which we would work diligently to protect, strengthen and defend. Once we find "home" we will not lightly wander. However, to be a part of that family and that home, we must allow ourselves to be fully adopted as members of the family and thus enjoy familial benefits that transcend anything that a dinner guest or weekend visitor might enjoy.
The time may come when we must leave "home" to spread the love and blessing in a new location. But it should not come because we are unhappy but because we have an opportunity and perceive that we are called or sent. And even then not really into a new family but to move in with "relatives" in Christ whom we may have never met but with whom we have an undeniable connection.
If the time has come to relocate, we welcome you with open arms.
If you are "running away from home," we encourage you to talk to your pastor and your brothers and sisters in faith and work out your differences or work through your problems. Sometimes, it takes effort. Sometimes, it takes extra effort, but it is always the best thing.
"Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." Ephesians 4:3-6 (NIV)