The closer you are in Christian fellowship, the stronger your faith becomes.
In the early years of our marriage, Karen had one goal on Sunday mornings: to get me to church. My job every Sunday was to keep from going to church. I just didn’t want to be around Christians. When I got saved at 19, I thought that Christians were a bunch of nerds. Karen wanted to join a Bible study, and she wanted to foster relationships with other believers. One morning she accomplished her goal and I found myself sitting on the back row of a Sunday school class when the teacher said, “Jimmy, would you open us up in prayer?”
Let me just tell you something. In my mind, this was the most terrifying thing that had ever happened, and I didn’t want to go back. But every Sunday morning, Karen kept pursuing her goal… and then she began to tattle on me.
That’s right, I believe in accountability. I began to call the Sunday school teachers and even the elders when we were facing difficulties. One day, we had been fighting, and it was so bad I packed my bags and planned to leave. Something in me paused and I decided to invite our Sunday school teachers, Kerman & Ethel to dinner that night.
I went to work that day after our argument, and when I came home, I was ready for round two. When I walked in the door Karen told me that we would be having guests over for dinner. I knew this wasn’t a good thing. She said, “I told them everything that’s going on in our marriage.”
So, we ate dinner with Kerman & Ethel that night. After 20 minutes of small talk, Kerman said, “I used to be an idiot like you, then I stopped being an idiot and started treating my wife right.”
I am glad that we had Kerman & Ethel in our lives. These relationships taught us the power of fellowship with other believers because the enemy can try to convince us that we are the only ones struggling. We can feel isolated and alone. We have thoughts like, “We’re the only ones. There’s only one idiot and I married him.” But when we get around to other people, we realize that everybody goes through stuff and there really is a way to get through the challenges we face with help.
Let me say if we were not in church, we wouldn’t be married right now.
Once I opened myself up to relationship and correction from other believers, I began to grow as a husband and father. When you’re going to church, you have to visit until you find the right church for your family. There are some churches that are unhealthy, but churches in general are wonderful bodies of people that love God. Finding Christian friends is like mining for gold. Sometimes you have to go through a lot of different people to find those other couples that you both really enjoy.
Hebrews 10:25 says, “Don’t forsake the gathering of yourselves together as is the habit of some, but come together encouraging each other, stirring each other up to love and good works.”
Ultimately, the closer you are in Christian fellowship, the stronger your faith becomes. You develop a support system, encouraging you to do the right thing, instead of the wrong thing. You have people praying for your marriage. This is why it is so important to be in church physically, as much as you possibly can.
Let me just say if we were not in church, we wouldn’t be married right now. The Spirit of God, along with the mentorship and encouragement of other believers gave our marriage a chance to flourish. We pray that everyone reading this right now is given the grace to plant themselves in the body of Christ and that their marriage is fortified so that they can run this race together.