Thursday, February 27, 2014

Church on Sunday is Not Enough

I read a book when I was in my early teens, Experiencing God, and in it there was a saying that struck me and I’m constantly reminded of it throughout my life.  

“To know God, you have to want to know God. To want to know God, you have to want to want to know God.”

As a kid, I knew there was something powerful in this statement and I knew that I didn't like it. I felt like it was a direct address to me. Why?  Because deep down I knew I didn't really want to want to know God.

I called myself a Christian and I went to church on Sundays (on and off really, and I barely paid attention) so in my mind I was “good” and didn't have a desire to do much else. I wasn't. As I grew older I kept making poor choice after poor choice, begging for attention and affection from people, feeling lost, feeling overwhelmed by pain, and more & more disconnected from God. The problem was not that I was going to church, the problem was that I was ONLY going to church. 

1-2 hours of Church on Sunday and Bible Study on Wednesday is not enough. 

While in church you can feel filled with love and filled with God, but what about when you step out of church? What about when people and situations start irritating and angering you? What about when things you expect don't go your way? What about when you get hit with trying times like a cancer diagnosis? If you only rely on Sunday service or Wednesday Bible Study to get you through all of your life, you're in for a couple of rude awakenings. Life will keep "happening to you" and you will constantly feel overwhelmed and overrun by your emotions. The solution: Make God constant in your life. The problem: We attempt to compartmentalize God.

1-2 hours of Church on Sunday and Bible Study on Wednesday is not enough.

I wrote about this in another post, Are You Ashamed of God?, and addressed our limitation of God in our lives. You see you can’t reserve God for Sundays at church or for Wednesdays at Bible Study sessions. You can’t be “sometime-ing” with God; it won’t work. Your relationship with God will not be strong enough. If you ignore God most of the week, you are asking for God to ignore you. If you focus on God, you are asking for God to focus on you. If you want to deserve/have a great life filled with happiness and fulfillment, you need God at the center of it. You can only live in your God-given purpose if you seek clarity on how to do it from God first.

1-2 hours of Church on Sunday and Bible Study on Wednesday is not enough. 

After going to church, read your Bible on your own – daily. Be spiritually enriched and nourished by God’s word – daily. Pray, meditate, and communicate with God – daily. Laugh, cry, and learn with God. Strive to live by God's rules and accept that when you don't, there are repercussions - don't wallow in them forever, grow from them and make BETTER choices. Have gratitude to God for your life as you enjoy it and be loving/generous to others in honor of God’s love for you. Allow God to permeate throughout all of your moments, days, weeks, months, years, and life. It's not easy (trust me, I KNOW) but nothing of great value is ever easy. If you fall of the God-wagon, don't give up on your spiritual life. I fall off too. The key is to remember that for every time you fall, you can get back up and be better.

1-2 hours of Church on Sunday and Bible Study on Wednesday is not enough.

I love going to church on Sundays - NOW. I love being in the beautiful house of God, listening to The Word, worshiping and reflecting on God's love for me and his plan for my life - NOW. I feel strengthened and refreshed when I hear the word of God from a pastor/preacher - NOW. I love receiving communion (yes, I'm Catholic) - NOW. The entire experience enriches my soul - NOW.  I also know that I am not meant to stop experiencing God when I leave the church building - NOW. I am meant to experience God in every moment of my life. I am meant to have God on my mind and in my heart throughout my life. I am meant to thirst daily for more knowledge of God's wisdom and truths to use for navigation through my life and to help others as they navigate through theirs. I can do more than one hour of church on Sunday.

And so can you/: 

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  1. So how did you get to your- NOW? How did you get from your sunday sunday to 'God permeating through ever...'?
    I have struggled with this for years and now i'm just not doing anything...i feel as further away as i've ever been and i have no idea how to go back. All the usual 'christian jargon' sound like nails on a board...i just don't wanna hear it. I'm just... :(

    1. Believe me, I understand your hesitation. Exactly what do you consider Christian jargon in this post? I tried to make it as clear as possible. Now I know that a lot of people are tired of hearing the "same ol' thing" when it comes to God but in all honesty, you're going to hear it over and over and over again if you desire to live a godly life because it is the truth - timeless truth. The lessons about God I learn and share were true yesterday, are true today, and will be true tomorrow. They can't be changed because we live in "modern" times. If anything, they are more applicable today than in older times - look at all the disorder and unrest in the world around you.

      In regards to my spiritual journey, I am the way I am NOW because I sincerely have a desire to know God and to put God FIRST in my life. Not second, not third. Not after money or friends or my own self-absorbed interests. No, FIRST. Once I started living with that mindset, going to Church/studying my Bible/listening to God with that mindset, making deliberate choices based on that mindset, and abstaining from certain unholy desires/feelings I had based on that mindset, I started experiencing an inner joy and peace like nothing I've ever felt from anyone/anything else. It's the type of joy that allows you to be grateful and happy even when things are hard or you're going through pain. It is not easy to live for God, and like I've said before I stumble at times, but it is 100% worth it because the rewards are limitless in your life and in the lives of others because you become a more loving and generous human being. My belief is not about other people and how they think I should be; it is about God, his evident love for me by giving up his beloved son - Jesus Christ - to die for us (you and me included), and how best I can live & use my life to honor/obey Him.

      My biggest recommendation to you would be to really be honest with yourself and ask yourself how much of a priority do you want God to be in your life and if the answer is your top priority, ask God daily for the strength to put him first in a world that doesn't promote that choice. Also, don't seek God because of me or anyone else in your life you think is forcing you - it won't last. Seek God because you want a God-enriched life and you're tired of the poor results that have come from putting people first - including yourself.