The boys and I have been working our way through the book of Galatians. As we have read, I have been explaining the struggle this church was going through and why Paul was writing. As we talked today I asked them this question. “Why do we go to church? Why do we read our Bibles? Why do we pray? Why are we nice to others? To which I received a multitude of answers, that eventually led to the correct response.
I have thought about this a lot today. When I was young like my boys, I went to church because my parents took me. We prayed before our meals and before bed, because this was what was expected. I read my Bible because I was supposed to. Later in college I can remember praying when I had really blown it and going to church thinking this would somehow get me back in good graces with the Lord. Neither of these are correct reasons to do the above.
There are countless numbers of people who go to church, read the Bible and pray because it is expected. Countless numbers of people who think they can somehow earn God‘s approval and love.
As the boys and I talked this morning, I told them that if they go to church, read the Bible, pray etc for any other reason that out of love for the Lord, they were missing the whole point.
God does not need us but He desires a personal relationship with us, a relationship He has made available to us through Christ.
I’m convinced if we could ever grasp the great love of God and what we have been saved from. If we could fathom God’s amazing grace. Then we would want to go to church, we would want to tell others about Jesus, we would long to read our Bibles and pray.
The problem is for so many we have made it a to do list. Thinking that it’s what is expected and just going through the motions.
Paul understood this better than most, for he knew what he had been saved from and never forgot it. He looked at his people with a heavy heart, longing for them to understand and accept Christ. Amazed by God’s grace that He had saved and chosen Him.
I still remember vividly when I went to China. The countless people everywhere the eye could see. The most precious people you could ever meet, gracious and kind. Yet, the majority of everyone I met did not know Jesus but believed lies. Flying home I wept as for the first time ever I began to grasp the grace of God. It was as if the Lord opened my eyes to the fact that I could have been born in China and would be just like these, lost and in my sin. But God, who is rich in mercy and grace, allowed me to know Him. He saved me and called me. Amazing.
One of my greatest prayers for my children is that they would come to truly understand the grace of God. That as they begin to recognize His great love for them, they will be overwhelmed with love for Him as well. That their greatest motivation for going to church and doing all the right things won’t be just because they know it’s what we want. But that they will long to do these things out of their own great love for the Lord.
How about you? Why do you do the things you do? Do you do it because it is expected? Do you do these things believing they will somehow increase God’s love for you or to get Him to love you more? Do you do these things motivated by guilt due to sin? Or do you do them as a result of your love for Him.