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But do I have to go to church?!


Posted 06 Sep 2013

Some additional thoughts regarding my previous blog post: “Freedom” versus Belonging

The Lord provides a safe zone: with a sense of belonging.
For me, the sense of belonging (to God) far, FAR outweighs any possible feeling of being “corralled” by His rules. When we discern the true nature of God’s “rules” THEN we begin to understand the purpose of them, & can correctly infer the motivation of God: which is LOVE for us & utter dedication to our welfare.

God’s “rules” are not something that are designed to curtail our freedom, or fun or enjoyment in life. They are not deliberately sent to cause us doom & gloom! Quite the opposite: God wants us to enjoy our lives to the full. He is committed to our freedom & our welfare.

The point of worship.
The greatest expression of our freedom & welfare is in our CHOICE to worship God. God doesn’t NEED our worship; God is entirely self-sufficient. Our free will worship of God reveals our RELATIONSHIP with Him: our commitment to Him. If we have a relationship with God then we understand who He is & what He has done, & that knowledge leads to spontaneous worship: gratitude, thanksgiving & praise of an all-might & all-loving God in heaven. Worship is automatic when we begin to fathom the depth, breadth & commitment of God’s love for us & all His created cosmos.

The Lord of the heavenly hosts receives glory when we live our lives in devotion to him. Worship & trust in God brings Him the glory that is rightfully his.

But do I have to go to church?!
Church attendance is not mandatory for a Christian… it’s just a really good idea!Genesis 11 - Tower of Babel - Scene 01 -Tower PB 163x180px col

Yes, it’s possible to worship God all on our own. Yes, it’s possible to relate to other people by not attending church. Church attendance is useful in terms of encouraging one another in our faith in God.

Church… and me!
As a person who is MUCH happier on my own, rather than in company, I can completely understand people’s reservation about going to church. Just about every time I go to my local church I go with trepidation! But I realise that the fallible church, full of hurt human beings is a good place to be, even if it doesn’t feel like that!

For me, it’s not so much about belonging to a church congregation, it’s about BELONGING TO GOD. Attending church is simply one way that my allegiance to the Lord is publically DEMONSTRATED. Sure, I could find a hundred & one other things I’d much rather do than going to church on a Sunday morning! And our local congregation has it’s foibles, problems, issues, etc, just like every other human organisation, which can make it even more tempting not to attend church! But my attendance at that congregation (or any congregation for that matter!) has a higher, heavenly purpose, than simply going along “because I should”!!!

I admit, I find it difficult sometimes to go to church. It doesn’t come naturally, at least not for me. I think that’s because I enjoy my own company & I often find that being around other people “costs” me emotionally. But, as I pointed out, I answer to a “higher calling” of God, even when He & I know that answering that call will cost me something. I wouldn’t choose to attend church, or lead a house group (a mini-church on a Wednesday evening), or be involved in children’s work, or run an art & craft stall at Messy Church once a month, or be involved with an Alpha course. But I know that my activities honour God, and that’s the higher purpose that I am alluding to.

My natural inclination is to remain on my own… and mercifully, in most of my working life I am able to do that! But I mustn’t remain in my “natural” state. Jesus died & rose again: saving me & my soul in the process, & for that reason alone I owe Him everything I am, even (& especially?) when it costs me something.



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