Photo: Courtesy of Jason Foster
Must I Go to Church?
As I rolled over in bed, every muscle in my body ached. I’d spent the previous day pulling weeds from my garden. I don’t feel like going anywhere.
Excuses whined in my head:
I need the rest.
I had to go somewhere every day last week, I deserve a break.
I can listen to praise music and worship God in my home.
I can read my Bible and pray in my recliner.
I won’t be missed.
Notice the word “I” stood center stage.
Rolling out of bed, I stumbled to the bathroom sink and splashed lukewarm water on my face.
Am I behaving like a lukewarm Christian?
So what if I’d had a busy week. Should church be less of a priority than the multitude of other activities on my agenda?
Is church attendance an option?
Guilt squeezed my chest, dragged me to church where I purposely sat by myself in the last pew.
The worship band played. I sang, but there was no song in my heart.
Someone prayed. I bowed my head, but my mind wandered.
“See!” An inner voiced mocked. “You should have stayed home. Coming to church out of obligation is legalism. You can go through the motions, but God sees your heart!”
I turned to Psalm 19 and followed dutifully along in my Bible as the Pastor read:
“The heavens are telling of the glory of God. And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.”
As he continued reading verses 7-11, my dutiful heart became deliriously devoted.
“The law of the Lord is perfect…”
“The testimony of the Lord is sure….”
“The precepts of the Lord are right….”
“The commandment of the Lord is pure…”
“The fear of the Lord is clean…”
“The judgments of the Lord are true….”
Notice GOD’S NAME stands center stage.
Focused on God and His Word rather than my feelings, excuses, or moods….
My soul was restored…and my mind made wise. (Verse 7)
My heart rejoiced…and my eyes enlightened. (Verse 8)
And that is why I must go to church.
For I know I’ll hear God’s Word and meditate on the ONE whose glory is revealed in the heavens. And I’ll worship the only ONE who is able to keep me from sins and forgive my transgressions because ….
The Lord truly is “my rock and my Redeemer.” (Verse 14)
There are no other options.