Have you ever thought about what church would look like if we really came to church. I know what you are thinking right now, “‘Came to church’? I am there every time the doors are open!” Sunday after Sunday…Wednesday after Wednesday…meeting after meeting…event after event…we are ‘at church’. You are ‘at church’, but the question that must be asked is …..how many of us really come to church? I mean, I know we are there, but are we “really” there?
This question has become a haunting question for me for some time now. However, it became much more real when a member of our church was giving a testimony of the struggles going on in her marriage. She began to tell how the struggle had been going on for a while, but her family kept going to church Sunday after Sunday as if nothing were wrong. Then she shared how her and her husband talked to their children about the struggles they were facing in their relationship. Through this conversation a statement was made by one of the children, “We have gone to church for years thinking that we and everyone else had to be perfect.”
There you go! Finally! Someone said it out loud! We have gone to church…thinking everyone had to be perfect, but knowing that we were not! Oh, we are at church, but we are not “really” at church. Rather, what happens is Sunday after Sunday, we get our messed up selves ready, we gather up our messed up families, and we all get in the vehicle and go to be with our church family that is perfect. So in order for us to fit in with all the other “perfect” people, we put on our “perfect” mask right before we get to the “perfect” church and we ‘do church’. And many of us do church really well. You can ask anyone. Our family has it all together. I mean just look at us, we are here every Sunday, our children behave, we are friendly with everyone, we smile and laugh, we have it all together. Anyone would tell you that. Really? Looks that way…but what is going on behind the mask?
Can you relate to this scenario? This is a very real scenario in families all over America. We have bought into the lie of Satan and many times the lie of the church that we have to be perfect. We have to be like all the other families that seem to have it all together. It is safer if we just go to church and leave our messed up lives at home tucked deep into the back of our closets. This makes church life so much easier, right? The problem is….. this is not what God had or has in mind for His Church. God desires for His church to be a vibrant community of believers using the gifts that he gave us to build each other up and in the process bring glory to Him! Guys, we cannot live in community when we choose to go to church, but not “really” go to church. We are all so busy covering up our messed up lives that we do not even realize we have brothers and sisters that are messed up as well. And here is the great part….God has brought them into our lives because they need us! He has equipped us to minister to them in a way that no one else can as effectively as we can. More great news……this works the other way around as well! God has these people in our lives because we need them! We need each other involved in our messed up lives. God promised that He would build His Church. In his sovereignty, He has orchestrated a perfect symphony of lives into local bodies of believers, so that we can live in community…. building each other up….creating a song with our lives that sings a praise chorus that points each other and the world to HIM! And, are you ready for this? When we are truly communing with each other…really living life with each other…no longer hiding in the darkness of the lies of Satan…our messed up lives become washed by the grace of a loving and compassionate and healing God! Our messed up lives create a melody that only God could orchestrate!
So…what if tomorrow, we all decided to “really” go to church? I mean, we get our messed up selves ready and we gather up our messed up families…..but this time we take our “REAL” family to church. The family that has decided to be “real”. The family that has decided to stop hiding behind the mask and just doing church. The family that is willing to be ourselves. The family that is willing to admit that we are F.I.N.E……Fouled up, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional. Church just might get a little messy tomorrow! But you know what? I think God wants to come and mess us up! The truth is….this will never happen until we decide to “really” go to church! How about you? Are you ready to bring your messed up self tomorrow and have some messed up church? I am ready and I think it is the only healthy and healing choice we can make!
I need You, Lord! I desperately need YOU!