Avoiding Temptations through Intentional Congregation
Your faith in God is your own. Your walk with God is a personal walk. Your relationship with God is individual and personal. God loves and desires you. Jesus died for you. The Holy Spirit will dwell in you. God created you and His promises or for you, personally.
But, you will find that, to live an obedient life, there is strength in numbers. We are called into a community of believers. We are called into church. Not only the buildings we call churches, but the bigger church, the body of believers.
That community is not a figurative community, it is a real one. We are to join it, participate in it, be involved in it. Know the other members. Be known to the other members of the community. Be transparent. Teach and be taught. Worship together.
At the time of Moses, the community was built around a physical place. We are still called to make a physical connection, but in Christ and the Holy Spirit, we are also to make a spiritual connection. The tabernacle was a foreshadowing of Jesus’ physical presence on the Earth. But, as Jesus said to the woman at the well in John 4:23, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.“
Use the strength of the church to avoid temptation. Temptation can come from many sources. It can come from false teachers and prophets, even those who appear to have abilities to know about the future. Temptation can come from family. Temptation can even come from troublemakers within the community that was designed to give you strength. But when temptation happens, do not be too shy or proud to face it together.
We’re called to be intentional in our faith and especially in the manner in which we live out our faith. It starts with being intentional in obedience and worship. Take giving for example. The festival of weeks, also known as Pentecost, also known as the festival of first fruits, is discussed in Deuteronomy 16. When the people entered the promised land, and even in later years, farmers would watch their fields and, at the first sign of ripening of fruit, they would go into the gardens and tie a ribbon around the vine of the first fruit to show the first signs of ripening. When it was fully ripe, these fruits went into a basket and were presented at the temple. We often think of giving in terms of monetary gifts and, to many of us, one dollar is not any different than another dollar. But, God doesn’t want just any fruit or any dollar, He, for our sake, wants us to commit the first dollar or first product of our work or fields of labor. How would your rejoicing in giving be different if you set the first fruits of your labor aside in a gift box designated for God? How would that simple act cascade through your approach and thinking about the rest of each day of work?
How about tithing? If instead of viewing it as sacrifices you were giving up of things that belonged to you, you, instead saw it and participated in it as a gathering with others in the family of believers? Feeding each other, caring for each other, communing with others, together, equally, forgiving debts, setting each other free from servanthood. If this is what we made “the church” look like, our next generation would be packed in together with us instead of being absent as is more the norm today.
But we are the church. It isn’t for someone else to do, it starts with us – you and me. To live in intentional faith. To take our personal relationship and join it, intentionally, with others to be the body of believers in Christ in His church.
destroy them completely
The temple was a foreshadowing of heaven and living in community with Jesus. It was also to keep His people united as a community instead of “i worship my god, you worship yours”.
A warning to join the community where God has place His name, to see Jesus in the articles of worship, to participate in true worship not trying to possess God – (john 4:23) Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
(1) A prophet who foretells dreams – even if signs take place. (2) family member entices you (3) troublemakers within your town