Lately, I have been experiencing headaches and dizziness regularly. The issue is that my eyes have changed over the past fourteen months. As my vision got worse, it has led to side effects that are impacting my everyday routine. I went to the eye doctor and explained to him what I was experiencing. He ran me through a battery of tests, and my right eye is deteriorating more quickly than my left. He changed my prescription, and within a week, I will have new glasses to fix the problem.
Here is the point of my story. When I took my symptoms and tried to give a self-diagnosis, my first thought was a brain tumor. That would explain everything, along with other issues in my life. Then I typed them into WebMD, and I received a variety of possible problems. My research left me affirming my brain tumor diagnosis, or possibly it was just the side effects of influenza. The list of various issues was long and hard to distinguish the correct item. Even when I decided to check my eyes first, because I have experienced problems before, the doctor discovered things that had not crossed my mind. Self-diagnosis, even in the age of the internet, is still guesswork.
If this is true of your physical body, might it also be true of your spiritual life?
Is it possible that your thoughts about yourself are wrong? You think you know what is happening, but you are wrong.
Is it also possible that your friends on the internet are misleading you? Not on purpose, mind you, but rather, they are untrained and inexperienced.
Is it even possible that the book you just read might not be the information that helps you in your walk with God? They are not trying to lead you astray, but their ideas don’t accurately apply to you and your situation?
If you think the answer is yes to any of these questions, then you understand why God gave us the Church. When we come to follow Jesus, we are placed into a community of people who are also following Jesus. There are people there who lead who have been trained in the proper way to interpret the Bible, theology, and how those intersect with people. Other leaders help pray for your spiritual needs and provide the advice that comes with years of following Jesus. Some God-fearing saints have walked paths like yours who want to help you on your journey. There are people your age who bring different life experiences that can stand beside you on this journey. There is a large group of people who are here to help you see your shortcomings, overcome your flaws, and move you into a healthy relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
If you try to walk the journey of faith alone, you are susceptible to the limitations of your own experience and research. You don’t know what you need. You need someone with training and wisdom to guide you in paths of righteousness that you would not walk alone. I know the community of faith is not perfect, just like the medical community, but they are both here to help you.