Your “Why”

Each month while in youth group, we are given a topic to teach and expound on. Each week Heidi and I break off in to two groups. She teaches the girls group, and I teach the boys group. During January our topic was “going to church.” The first week we went over “what the church is,” and the second week we talked about “preparing for church.” Then, third week, we looked at how “we are to be at church.” One of the main reasons I was trying to get across to the students is you need to know “why you are at church. ” Or, more specifically, “you need to know your why.”

I kept telling them that even though you’re here, how you’re here matters. Did you walk through those doors and say hi to people and leave it there? Did you walk through those doors because you get a high from singing worship music and the occasional prayer? Is this your checklist so that you can feel as if God is okay with you because you went to church one or two days a week? Or are you here simply because your parents are making you? Why are you here?

When attending church it’s important to be present, attentive, and ready to learn. Casual Christianity, as Keith called it on Sunday, is very real. Being at church and hearing how God loves you should affect you and change you. Does it?

Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God. – John 8:47

I myself had to figure out “my why.” Because 13 years ago, soon to be 14 in November, I married one of those people who knew why they were at church. One of those people who had a relationship like no other that I had ever witnessed with the Lord. Now I was along for the ride, and I was just riding behind her curtails hoping that I would catch a glimpse of light. So, when I went into church I was checking off a box. “I’m here, I sang a few worship songs, I felt something in the prayer.” And then the rest of the week I went about my way… My way!

See, like some of you, I claimed to be a Christian at the time. I had a good way of faking it till I made it. However, when you’re married, your spouse picks up on things. She started to realize things, and she quickly realized that I was not a believer. She quickly realized that I was checking off a box every time I stepped through those doors, and that I had no real relationship with God. And, truth be told, at times I didn’t have a desire to know God. When she would do her daily Bible study I was nowhere to be found. When we were supposed to be leading our son in the Word of God, I was nowhere to be found. But if some good worship music was on, I was right there! It was all about how I could feel, not about knowing God.

I had no real understanding of the gospel either. As you see in John 8:47, I was blind to who God is. Pride, anger, and selfishness had such a hold on my heart that I wasn’t letting go. The Holy Spirit was not in me, and the Gospel had not been made real to me. Some of you may be guilty of that same thing. Some of you here may need a wakeup call before that train runs you down. Are you walking through those doors because, when the Word of God is read aloud to you, it’s convicting, it’s overwhelming, and/or it’s piercing right through your selfish desires? Does it bring you light? Does it bring you hope? Does it bring you freedom? Does it make you humble yourself to know that you serve a greater purpose that you are loved by a greater Father?

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. – Hebrews 4:12-13

If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. – 1 John 1:6-10

It’s vital that we are not ignoring these things. Take stock of who you are, and take stock of how you are outside of church on Sunday and Wednesday. Take stock of how you are on those days as well. Are you falling asleep in church? Do you have your Bible ready to learn? Do you take notes when sermons are being given? Are you relationally giving of your time to others? Do you serve at the church? Outside of the church, how many times do you actually read your Bible? How many times do you actually pray? What does your relationship look like with God? Just blindly walking through those doors with no purpose, and claiming something, but not living it out needs to stop be real with who you are. Take stock of who you are, make a change, and follow God!

Come to church yearning to learn. Come to church yearning to worship. Come to church yearning to know and love others. None of that is possible without a real relationship with God. Change, true change, is not possible on your own. You need a supernatural help and that only comes from God.  Why do I say those things?

I say those things because, even your leadership can fall under these categories. We are all capable of falling into this. So I’m writing this to everyone. Just because your parents, friends, or family have a relationship with God, doesn’t mean you do. Those are harsh words, but necessary. Because God is after your heart every day, and some of you are only giving 10% to Him, and He wants all of your heart. God wants you to know Him relationally. He gives us this through the Word of God. In prayer we have the amazing ability to call on Him, and He wants to hear from you!

So, casual Christians, and those that fall into this category, I ask you this: what is your why?

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.  – Jeremiah 29:13

But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. – Deuteronomy 4:29

“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot.  Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth .-Revelation 3:15-16

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