It’s Sunday morning. How are you feeling? Chaotic?
Maybe your family got a late start this morning, and your little brother accidentally spilled his grape juice all over your favorite white shirt. On top of this, it’s not until you’re in the church parking lot that you realize you forgot to let the dog out. Once you’re inside the building, however, you know that it’s time to put your “church face” on. You know that look; the one where you’re all smiles and the world is a perfect place…until you arrive back home to find the dog had indeed ruined the carpet.
Now, let’s switch scenarios.
Same Sunday morning. How are you feeling? Bleh?
Sunday is usually the morning before school or work begins and you plan on taking advantage of it. I mean, you’ve had a stressful week. You just can’t pull off church today. So how do you relax? Easy. You plan on using this time to binge-watch Netflix and catch up on your favorite show! You’ll probably want to take a walk at some point so that you can say you got your daily exercise in, but then it’s back to lounging at the house.
Now, I’m not saying either of these scenarios are true of all people all the time, but I know either of them can be true or at least tempting. Going to church can feel more like a chore or a burden than a hallowed time to engage in praise and worship to our God. But what does a true churchgoer look like? How does one rightly approach going to church? It’s not as hard as you might think.
Simply remember why you are there. You’re not just there to give yourself something to do on a Sunday morning. You’re not even there to try to look like a “good Christian.” We, as a church family, are called together to worship our Savior Jesus Christ; to sing praises and learn more about the righteous and loving God we serve; to encourage one another.
Scripture tells us in Colossians 3:16,“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (ESV)
It is very easy to fall into a mindset that pulls you away from the true purpose of the church. I traveled around a lot as a kid; it seemed like we would attend a new church conference every couple of weeks, and these conferences could last up to a full week. This went on for five years, and as often as I was in church each month, it was very easy to fall into this trap. But I had to remind myself of something. I had to remember that I wasn’t there for me. I was there to spend time in worship and to learn more about my God.
Just close your eyes and try to wrap your mind around this: our God – the reason for our entire existence, the One who put the stars into place, and the One who set the model for the church – sent His only Son to be born on this earth and die for us.
For us. For you. It is so very important that we don’t lose our thirst for learning more about our Creator, our Redeemer, and our Friend; or wanting to come together as a collective body of believers to worship Him who has saved us.
When we gather for church, it’s not about how we look or even how we feel. Surprisingly, it’s not even about what we do for Him. But rather what He has done for us. It’s about spending time with our fellow believers, worshipping our God and building each other up for the Christian walk that awaits us in the coming week. It’s a time for us to look upward to God, inward to allow the Holy Spirit to show us where we need to grow in Christlikeness, and outward to others. If you find yourself looking anywhere else, then stop and refocus.
Simply, remember why you are there.