Life is full of obligations and requirements we don’t feel like doing (think taxes, exercise, going to work, changing nappies). Sometimes, we get complacent in our relationship with Christ only to find ourselves not feeling like going to church. We start making excuses and we disconnect from the body of Christ. Much like someone who puts on 10 kilos of extra weight after weeks of small unhealthy eating choices and too many “snooze-button-mornings” of skipping workouts, we make decisions that not only limit our faith but actually stunt our spiritual growth.
SHOWING UP to God’s house means we increase our odds of GROWING UP in our faith.
Like anything worth committing to, great rewards come when we attend God’s house week in and week out. We actually allow God the opportunity to speak to us in new ways; we lead others into His presence through serving; and, we experience life corporately alongside other believers. I heard a powerful testimony last weekend at Colour Conference in Sydney of a young girl who grew up attending church but struggled to experience God in a miraculous way. She testifies that she just kept turning up, however. She never backed down, never gave up seeking God. And now, she’s grown up and she is actually leading a huge youth ministry impacting thousands of young people. What if she had stopped showing up?
My own Pastor Lori Champion, has a similar testimony of “showing up” while grieving the sudden traumatic death of her father who was a pastor. Instead of letting herself go down a path of anger towards God in questioning why this wonderful Godly man could die in the middle of preaching a sermon on a Sunday morning, she just kept getting herself to church. When she was numb from the pain and grief and didn’t “feel God,” she went anyway.
I run into people all the time who say they love Jesus yet are disconnected from His bride. This cannot be. Am I saying the only place you experience God is in church? No. He is omni-present! EVERYWHERE! However, someone saying he wants to be best friends with my husband, but who dislikes me, his wife, probably doesn’t stand a chance at getting close to Greg. It’s the same with Christ. He is coming back for His church. His church is his kingdom on Earth, the hope of the world, the place where we find our ultimate fulfillment and calling. The church is the answer to our community’s problems and needs. “At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.” (Ephesians 1:20-23 MSG)
So, my friend, wherever you are in your walk with God… let me encourage you:
Show up. And then Show up again. People aren’t perfect. Pastors aren’t either. The world is full of pain and it’s not God’s fault. When you’re not happy, go to church. When you’re hurting, attend anyway. When you don’t know God and are searching, run to His House and look for Him. Find a local body of believers and stay when they remind you that Jesus died for you. Go to a sanctuary where people love you just the way you are. Connect, dig in, serve, give, and keep showing up. I promise you that God will meet you there. And you will grow up your faith and convictions.
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (James 1:2-4 MSG)