What’s Your Excuse?
8:45 am, up and at ’em. Crawl out of bed, shower (maybe), and head over to the chapel. At Bible College, we had an hour chapel every morning, and you had to be there at 9:15. Now, let’s be real. 8:45 doesn’t sound that bad, but on the days when you were up until 4 am the night before writing a paper, they sure didn’t feel good.
Time and time again, I’d mosey on over to the chapel, stand to sing (or listen) to a few worship songs, and sit through the chapel speaker’s message. Does that sound rough to you? No seriously, does it seem awful to have to join with the body of Christ, stand to sing His praises, and receive His Word almost every day? Well, when you put it that way, I can see why it actually sounds pretty good, in fact, that sounds amazing. But it sure didn’t sound amazing when I was in college.
One particular chapel sticks out in my memory. Our chaplain was speaking on this exact subject; the boredom we can come to feel, the desperate longing of our bodies to stay in bed, and even the frustration we might be feeling toward God – all of which might keep us from seeing what a profound blessing it is that we’re enjoying.
No seriously, does it seem awful to have to join with the body of Christ, stand to sing His praises, and receive His Word almost every day?
There’s a reason that chapel stuck with me. It was because I needed to hear it.
As his message went on, he called us to humble ourselves before God and understand that no matter how we might be feeling about ourselves, about the church, or even about God, it doesn’t change the fact that God is worthy to praised, He’s worthy of being heard, and He’s worthy of our obedience.
I realized that I had to get some things straight in my head. I had to lay down in my mind the fact that the gospel of Jesus Christ, the redemption of sinners that He had won at the cross, was a steadfast truth. No matter how I felt, that would never change. I had to lay down the fact that God is the infinite Creator, my Creator, and no matter what, He is worthy of all that I have to give.
Really, what I had to do was understand that there will almost always be some reason for me not to join the church on a Sunday or join my community group on a Wednesday (because if I’ve learned anything about myself, it’s that I have a factory of excuses in my noggin). Sometimes there might actually be a real reason for missing church: a dying loved one, an inescapable work commitment, a shipwreck on a deserted island. But we know deep down when our reasons aren’t so good. Usually, if I take a moment to listen to my often-deceitful heart, I can pick out when it’s lying to me or when it’s telling the truth. And I can always pray that God would search me, know my heart, and reveal my sin (Psalm 139:23-24).
What are my convictions about the truth of God that keep me coming to church every Sunday?
Maybe this is something you need to give some thought to. What are my convictions about the truth of God that keep me coming to church every Sunday? Have my excuses for dipping out of things been real or made up for my own benefit?
And if you don’t have any convictions, or if you feel like they seem a bit shallow, I’d encourage you to look to the Word of God. Here are a few places that it might be good to start with:
Romans 5:6-11 — What has He done to deserve my worship?
1 Peter 2:9-10 — What is His Church that I ought to rejoice at being a part of it?
1 Corinthians 12 — What role do I have in building up this group of believers?