It’s the same routine, week after week. Get up, get dressed, go to church and then come home. Lather, rinse and repeat. At this point, I’m just tired of going to church.
Now that it’s been said, the traditional church gossiping can begin. “I told you he was just a fake.” “I knew he was just here to be seen.” “Another pretend holy roller taps out.” Etc.
But before you jump to assumptions or conclusions, here me out and think about a few questions:
- Why do we go to church?
- When was the last time we were convicted in church?
- When was the last time we walked into church seeking God’s conviction in our life?
- Why do we go to church each Sunday if it doesn’t convict or change us?
- Do we come to church to be entertained or convicted?
- Is Sunday the only day we worship?
“Worship must be – Christ centered, Holy Spirit led, a Response to the Father, about Intimacy and Service and always lead to Transformation.” Tim Hughes.
If I am truly honest, most Sundays are like all of the other Sundays. More habit and routine than genuine worship. I want to sing songs that I like and sometimes just bide my time with songs that don’t fit my style. I want to hear a good sermon with some good points and a good joke or two is an added bonus. Then I leave, concerned about what’s for lunch. Sunday after Sunday. Rinse, lather and repeat.
It’s easy to see what the problem is; it’s all about me. And that’s the last thing worship should be about.
For me the last Sunday I left worship changed was on August 14th. I can tell you when I arrived I was worried, and concerned and in search for answers. As God is always faithful, he provided me what I needed that Sunday. I needed to hear that sermon. I left worship that day with an attitude of thanks, a plan of action and hope.
Why don’t I leave worship every week in that way? Don’t I need God all the time? Or do I just need Him when I have problems or concerns? When don’t I have problems or concerns?
While worship is not about me, I can’t worship until I have dealt with my sin and my attitude. How can we leave truly experiencing God and not be changed? I’m not talking about entertained. How often have we left church and said, “That sure was a good sermon Preacher!” or “I really enjoyed that music today.” So what? Since when was my enjoyment a requirement for worship? It’s not.
“When I worship, I would rather my heart be without words than my words be without heart.” Lamar Boschman.
In the days of the Temple, the High Priest was the only person allowed into the Holy of Holies. He was the only one who could go behind the veil to the presence of God. It is said that he would even wear bells so that they could hear him moving. No bells meant he was dead. It was that sacred a space. When Jesus died on the cross, the veil was torn down the middle, top to bottom. Now we can enter into the presence of God. Is it no less holy now? Yet how often have I casually and routinely walked into and out of a worship service?
Is that how it was meant to be? It’s not.
“If you come to worship for any reason other than the joy and pleasure and satisfaction that are to be found in God, you dishonor Him…God’s greatest delight is your delight in Him.” Sam Storms
Why do we wait until the end of a worship service to call people to the alter? Shouldn’t we do that at the start of the worship service? Why not get rid of all the sin and garbage we are carrying around before we sing praises, hear His word preached and worship? How often have I dishonored God because I have put myself and my desire to be entertained at the forefront of worship? How often have I dishonored God because I was ready to leave and go eat lunch instead of praying that the Spirit would move?
If we were asked before a worship service if we wanted conviction or entertainment, what would we choose? More often than not, I would tell you I wanted conviction but what I really wanted was entertainment. We always have to give the correct answer, whether it’s honest or not, right? Is it possible to go to the cross and not be convicted? It’s not.
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
John 4: 23-24 (NIV).
So that’s why I’m tired of going to church. I’m tired of dishonoring God and tired of being a cultural Christian and not a follower of Christ. I’m tired of sitting in a pew expecting to be entertained. I’m tired of being a hypocrite and more concerned about lunch. So will I be there Sunday? Yes, as long as the Lord is willing. But my prayer and hope is it won’t be the same me.
The order of worship may not change but God can change me. Will you join me? Will you seek Him before the service and cleanse all of the sin and garbage out of your life so that He can completely pour Himself into you? Will you rid yourself of your entertainment expectations and replace them with a true desire to worship Him, even if that means conviction? Especially if that means conviction? Will you join me in honoring God instead of dishonoring Him?
“The Lord says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.’” Isaiah 29:13 (NIV).
If the veil was still intact and I had to walk behind it in the Holy of Holies to come into the presence of God with the attitude I have had toward worship; how would I be received? How would you be received?
This Sunday, when we are walking into worship, if we are there for anything less, or anything other, than truly seeking and worshipping Him, we should check our attitudes.
We might miss something that God has for us.
Seek conviction and run to the cross!