When I was a kid, I hated going to church most of the time. But like the Lecrae song where he says he was a “drug baby” – his momma “drug” him to church – I, too, was “drug” to church just about every Sunday. I don’t think there was anything wrong with my church – I actually have very fond memories of the church I grew up in. But the rebellious kid in me didn’t want to go to a place where I was forced to go, and I didn’t want to learn about a God I was scared of. And we’re not talking healthy fear – I mean scary fear (mainly that He was going to consume the earth in fire, and that would be how I would die…).
Now that I’m adult and I have a relationship of my own with the Lord, I actually love going to church. I still fear God, but in a different way. I understand end times prophecy in the Bible a little better (not much better), so I’m not scared of getting consumed by a huge plume of flame plunging down out of the heavens. I’m not sure which part of a regular church service I enjoy more – the worship through singing, or the worship through the preacher’s message. I love singing (I sound terrible, but I have a feeling there’s a filter my songs go through before they reach the ears of God, so that it sounds much better…), but I also love learning from God’s Word.
For some people, I don’t think church has this kind of appeal. They go out of habit, or for some other non-God-pleasing reason, or they just don’t go at all. I know I used to think that church wasn’t a necessary part of being a believer, but now that my own faith has deepened some, I don’t see how a believer can make it without doing so. I’ll admit that I’m not always in the mood to go to church, but I also recognize that this isn’t an excuse.
My Bible study today was over using the Psalms as models of praising God in our prayers. Something it talked about at the very end was praising God no matter the circumstances:
Christians are prone to praise God when they feel good. If we praise God on the mountaintop, but refuse to praise Him in the valley, we are praising not God but our feelings.
It went on to talk about some of the Psalms where the writer started out by recounting how terrible their life is, but then quickly turns to praise. A great example is Psalm 13
1 How long, O LORD ? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? 2How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? 3Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; 4my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. 5But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. 6I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.
I think next time I wake up on a Sunday morning, and I’m just not in the mood to go praise God in church, I’m going to remember that God is the same, regardless of my circumstances. And my worship of Him is based on who He is, not where I am. So He should be worshiped no matter what.
What about you? How do you feel about church? What’s your favorite part of church?
Note: I understand that there are always circumstances that may cause a person to not be able to attend a local church service on a regular basis. My intent here was not to make them feel guilty. My own family often misses services, because we travel so often to visit family or for other reasons. But I think the premise of what I said remains the same – we should worship God regardless of our circumstance, even if we aren’t able to attend church.