When I was born, my parents decided that they were going to raise me as "American" as possible but they also wanted to instill a foundation of the culture my family comes from. They decided to speak both Farsi and English to me, the problem was that I had begun developing an accent and they did not want that to happen. So when my brother was born, they just spoke English to me and my brother. I have retained most of the language, but I am not longer fluent.
My parents tried to send me to a class, so that I would pick it back up. That didn't work at all. If you ask me, I feel like trying to learn a language fluently in a classroom really isn't possible. Yes, you can learn some vocabulary words, and the right way to do things, but then when you try and apply it in the real world you freeze up.
Later when I was around 12 years old, my mom and I flew to Iran and stayed for about a month. I was nearly fluent within two weeks. I was speaking to everyone and was able to communicate in a completely different language. It was mostly because I had the foundation, but more importantly it was the submersion in to the culture. It was being surrounded by the language; the food, the traditions, and the culture that helped me get fluent again in Farsi (Persian). I haven't been to Iran or spoken consistently in Farsi in 6 years, so I am not fluent anymore.
Church is a lot like learning a new language. Stay with me, it'll make sense. A lot of people go to church and that’s it. Some go more than others. Going to church is great; you're taking initiative to better your walk with the Lord. Here are some points to better organize my thoughts:
Going to Church Is Like Going to Language Class
You are learning the vocabulary. You are learning how to make sense of certain things. You take notes so you don't forget what you have learned. I think you get it.
Learning how to make sense of how God does, why God does, where God does, what God does can really be like learning a completely new foreign language. You just don't understand it until you begin to study it.
When You Think You Know Enough, You Eventually Find Out Your Completely Lost
I know there are people out there who have taken a Spanish class or French class. You sat through the class for a month or two, got great grades, and understood everything so far. So you're thinking to yourself, "I think I could talk to someone now!" Then when you do end up talking to someone who actually does speak French or Spanish, you either find yourself completely lost and forgetting basic things you learned. Maybe you were able to get through a simple conversation, but the person who does speak the language will know you really can only speak very little.
That’s the same thing that happened to me in my faith. I thought I was good. I went to church for a couple months and built up enough to think I could take the world on. That was a mistake. Just like learning a new language, you should NEVER STOP trying to learn about God. The minute you think you have enough, is when you begin to decline.
You Have to Submerse Yourself in the Culture to Understand the Language
In order to learn a new language, you have to be surrounded by the language. You have to do it every single day. People often don't think about slang, different phrases, or "sayings" a language comes with. People don't think about the taboo things in different cultures. In order to understand the language inside and out, you have to be in the culture, to live it!
In order to understand what God is trying to do in your life, you have to submerse yourself in His culture. You have to surround yourself with Christ for him to reveal things to you, so you can better understand what is happening in your life. You might ask… How do you even do that??
Volunteer at your church. Or if that isn't an option, get involved somehow! Join a Bible Study group, or help out a project the Church is promoting. Do something with your church than just attending. You have to submerse yourself into the Church's culture to start to understand the Love people experience every day. Once you experience God move, it’s pretty much over for you. You will finally see what we all see when someone new is saved, or someone lost has come back to Christ, or when you see people publicly, fearlessly, and shamelessly proclaim Christ as their savior by being baptized in 40 degree weather in the Mountains.
I'll finish it by telling you how I have been blessed by integrating my life into the culture of my Church. I attend Elevation Church at the Boone Extension in Boone, NC. It has been a complete blessing in my life. God has moved mightily through that Church and continues to do it every day. I began volunteering and had started to understand what it meant serve God. You begin to learn that it's not about you, and being a part of something so big you can even see your own life anymore. I tell you, its liberating. I was lucky enough that the worship team thought I was somewhat of a decent musician, and I now get to play on stage every weekend and watch people worship Christ. I will talk about that on a later date.
This whole thing comes down to...... submerse your life into the Culture of Christ's love. To be surrounded by His love is humbling and joyous. I beg you; do not miss your opportunity to experience Christ on a new level!