Bickering, bite-biting, position seeking, compromise……..that’s what it seems so many churches have become (thank God not all churches – but alot of them). Week after week people gather in God’s house with malice, envy, jealousy, and hatred in their hearts and before you know it WWIII has broken out and people are getting hurt, and even killed, by their members of their own army. Chaos and confusion are evident and turmoil brews at every turn. We wonder why the world isn’t busting down the doors of the churchhouse to get in and be a part of “God’s wonderful family”. Well, maybe it’s because they have enough chaos and turmoil of their own. They don’t need to take an hour out of their schedules to come in and endure even more on Sunday mornings.
I want to pose a question today and I want everyone who reads this blog to answer as honestly as you can (to yourself). A little self-evaluation if you will. I too have pondered this question and done a little self-evaluation of my own –
WHY DO I (insert your name here) GO TO CHURCH?
Really think about that question for a moment. Why do you go to church? What motivates you to get up every Sunday, or however often you go, and attend a church service?
For years I viewed church attendance as a “requirement” for being saved. I thought it was just what you did if you called yourself a Christian. You go to church, listen to a sermon, sing a few songs, shake some hands, and go home. For years I compartmentalized my life and church was just one part. I didn’t understand that all aspects of life flow together and that one part of my life should have been intertwined and affecting all other parts. I got up on Sundays, even went on Sunday night and Wednesday night, to fulfill my Christian obligation – my duty to God! Then on Monday I went to work for that part of my life, not even giving “church” a second thought. I thought the purpose of the church was to provide a place for Christians to come together and punch a “time card” to show God they loved Him. I was so legalistic in my thinking. I had made a “law” out of church attendance and sadly, for far too many years, that law, as all law, brought death. “After all, the law brings death, but the Spirit brings life.” 2 Corinthians 3:6 CEV I thought going to church showed God I loved Him and was so afraid that if I missed one service He was going to be mad and bring some type of judgement on me.
Friends, for some of you this story sounds familiar. You have made a law of going to church just because you think it’s your obligation as a Christian to do so. That “law” is bringing death – it is zapping your joy and creating dread instead. Some of you go to church to find social interaction. Some of you go to church because you still live at home and your parents make you. Some of you go to church and don’t really know why you go you just think you should. And fortunatley, some of you have discovered truth and go for all the right reasons!
Friends, going to church isn’t what makes you saved and it doesn’t give you brownie points with God. Going to church should be an overflow of what God is doing on the inside of you. The church is a place where believers gather to worship God, to get refreshed in His Spirit, and to get energy to be about His business the rest of the week. Going to church is like pulling over at a filling station when your car is running low on fuel. You pull in and get filled up, not so you can go park your car in the garage all week, but so you can be about your business doing what you have to do. When you begin understand that we are gathering together as a family to give God honor and to thank Him for all He is and all He does and to allow Him to fill us up to be about His business (which by the way is bringing others into the family of God) then church will be a place you long to go! It no longer will be a duty, an obligation, a drudgery – it will be a place of resfreshing and peace. Having this mindset will truly transform your life and bring an excitement and anticipation about going to church. And, it just might get others around you excited to be there too! You can’t drag people with you somewhere you don’t even want to be….but when you’re excited to be there your passion will spill over to others and they’ll want to come and see what all the commotion is about too.
I pray that a new desire will spring up in your souls and that you will view church attendance in a new light. I pray you will have an overwhelming desire to be in God’s house simply to worship Him and to allow Him to use you as an encouragement to others who are there. I pray your view of “going to church” will take on new meaning and that you’ll be excited to be there from now on!
Blessings to you all
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:25