On our drive home from church today, Beth and I talked about our worship plans for next week. Here in the "buckle" of the Bible Belt, churches swell disproportionately on Christmas and Easter. Even if they only periodically attend church, no one misses these special church days. Kids are dressed in their Sunday best and typically a big meal out follows the worship service.
We, however, often choose to worship at home and avoid the crowd. It's because we believe that Christianity is about more than these two days. For that matter, we believe it's about more than weekly church attendance. Instead, Christianity is about the condition of one's heart, 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week.
Easier said than done.
The Christian church has plenty of examples of people who don't practice what they preach. There are lots of high-profile Christians who find themselves in very bad situations- adultery, prostitution, fraud, embezzlement; you name it.
We view them as hypocrites, sort of like people who claim to be Christians but only go to church twice a year. Or people who are Christians on Sundays, but are really nasty the other six days a week. If you don't practice what you preach, then you must be a hypocrite, right?
First of all, he is innocent until proven guilty. And the truth is that all of us mess up. This includes Christians. Even Jesus' closest followers messed up- Judas, Peter, and the rest. Heros of the Bible; Moses, Sampston, David, and many, many others messed up. We all mess up. So, does this make all of us hypocrites?
No. It makes us human.
God designed humans for the purpose of having a relationship with Him. It's only when we fall out of that relationship with Him that we mess up. However, the world that we live in is filled with traps, distractions and deception, all of which can cause us to fall away from God.
What does having a relationship with God really mean? It boils down to two things- trust and obedience. We trust Him with everything. We obey Him because we love Him. Trust and obey. That is the relationship. We do it on Sundays. We do it on Mondays, and every other day of the week. We should, for our own best interests, do it every single minute of every single day.
Again, easier said than done.
But it is doable. Prayer helps. Reading His Words helps. Talking about it with others that share your beliefs and perhaps have struggled as well, helps.
And there is one other thing:
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who
have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28).
But it can be done. I've done it myself. I've been in hopeless situations that I have given to Him. And He delivered me. Typically, after that, rather than having a grateful heart and continued to trust and obey, I'll think: "Thanks God, I'll take it from here." And that's when I find myself in trouble again.
So, I hope you and your family have a wonderful Easter. If you go to church, I hope it blesses you and helps draw you closer to Him. And I pray that you (and I) will become 24/7 Christians.
Scripture is from the New International Version, copyright 1973, 1978,1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com.