|Photo credit: Silent Shot|
Growing up we went to church "every time the doors were open." That meant twice on Sundays and once on Wednesday evenings. I never questioned why we went; I simply did as I was told, believing that regular attendance was a necessary part of being a Christian.
As you may imagine, though, my heart wasn't always in the right place because I didn't understand why I was there other than "to worship God."
To me, the church was a building where Christians met to worship together. I didn't understand that the church is the Church, that is, the body of believers who meet together because of their mutual love for the Lord. Instead, I went to church for a variety of different reasons.
Reasons Why I've Attended Church Over the Years
At times I have attended church out of compulsion:
- My parents made me go.
- "It's what I do on Sundays."
- I felt guilty for not going.
Other times I went to church out of fear of losing my salvation and going to hell.
But there have also been times when I attended church out of an earnest desire:
- To be part of something bigger than myself
- To attain Godly wisdom & understanding
- To encourage & be encouraged by other saints
- To serve those in need
- To teach children about God's love for them
My Shifting Feelings
As I have grown and matured both physically and spiritually, my feelings toward the Church have shifted. No longer do I go to church out of compulsion or fear. Now I attend church because I see its purpose and my own role within that purpose.
The Church's Purpose
- To evangelize (Matthew 28:18-20)
- To build up/edify/encourage the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12)
- To unify the saints (Ephesians 4:13)
- To know Jesus (Ephesians 4:13)
- To become like Jesus in every way (Ephesians 4:13,15)
The purpose of Church isn't to sing a few hymns or listen to a good sermon or even to fellowship with other believers, although those are all good things we do there.
Ultimately, the purpose of the Church is Christ:
15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
As I grow in my faith, I grow in Christ, who is the head of the Church. I have a role to play in making sure that the Church is unified, built up, and working together under Him, for it is only through knowing Jesus that we have the hope of eternal life (Philippians 3:11).
Why do YOU go to church?
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