Church “Attendance” Is Not Important to God
“Do you not know that you are God’s temple
and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?”
1 Corinthians 3:16
After reading the title of this devotional, you might be mad. RELAX. Don’t throw your hat on the ground and stomp on it just yet. Let me explain.
I love church—the building—yes. But, I am “the church” and so are you, if you’ve accepted Christ’s forgiveness! However, me attending the building or gathering no more makes me acceptable to God than dressing up a monkey in a three-piece suit, handing him a Bible and a tambourine, and then setting him on the front row, makes him acceptable to God. Our hearts have to be right, no matter where we are at. This is what’s most important to God, our hearts. Does Jesus dwell there? Is it brand new? (See Ephesians 3:16-18, Romans 6:6).
Every Sunday morning millions of people get ready for church. They put on their best clothes and head off to a geographical location to learn about and worship God. But really, it doesn’t matter where the actual church-going Christian is physically–God couldn’t care less. God is much more interested in what kind of church we are—you and I.
We house His Spirit at all times (see 1 Corinthians 3:16), but do we show the world who Jesus really is through us? Or are we thinking that God is giving us a gold-star for driving our rears to the nearest church and sitting there for an hour? I thought this way for years.
And really, all you gotta do try out “going to church” for so long to realize that our appearance there isn’t going to fix our lives or fulfill us. Eventually, what we soon realize is that going to church isn’t the most important thing to our Creator. And sure, it’s important, but so many Christians have made it the end-all-be-all. They’ve made a law out of church attendance.
“You skipped church?!” *GASP* “Are you still a Christian?! Wait until I tell so-and-so!”
This mindset of “grace based on building attendance” is ludicrous. Christ destroyed the need for an actual building to be able to have access to God. When He was crucified, a 3-foot-thick vail was torn from top to bottom, which led to the “most holy place” of the temple! (See Matthew 27:51). So now, as New Covenant believers, because of Christ’s blood, have complete access to God every second of the day! (See Ephesians 3:12, Hebrews 4:16).
Nobody is better than you! And nobody is worse, either, because they go to church, or don’t go to church. My friend, church going means nothing if you don’t allow yourself to be the church–an actual place where Jesus lives and dwells with love, truth, and confidence!
In the book of Hebrews it says “we are his house” (see Hebrews 3:6). WE ARE. You and me. All of us Christians together all throughout the world, we form The Church because Jesus lives in us! WE ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST! HE IS THE HEAD AND WE ARE HIS HANDS, FEET, AND MOUTH! THE CHURCH! When you read the word “church” in the Bible this is what it is referring to! US! NOT A BUILDING!
And you might ask me, “So Matt, are you against going to church?” Well heck no. Go to church! But go for the right reasons! Go to grow! Don’t go to earn anything from God—or worse—to think you’re better than those who don’t go. Some of the meanest, most unloving people I know are faithful church-goers because of this incorrect mindset. They say such things as:
“Well…if they don’t go to church then they just ain’t Christian.”
“BACKSLIDERS! You better get back into church if you don’t want to go to hell!”
Or you ask them, “Are you a Christian?” and they’ll reply with, “Yeah, I go to church.”
For so many years my response would have been, “SO WHAT! YOU DON’T SHOW IT! Show me Jesus! If going to church makes me like you, then you can keep it! I don’t want to be like you at all!”
Friends, we gotta have change. We gotta change the way the world looks at us church-going Christians! Church attendance means nothing if you don’t allow Christ to live through you. If we refuse to do this then why are we going? We may as well sleep in or go fishing. Be willing to allow the Holy Spirit to live through you! Be being The Church! LET HIM OUT OF YOU!
So today, my friends, know this: I’m all for church. Go. Please go. Find one and get plugged in. You are a vital part of the Body of Christ! But never find your identity in that building–or in what you do for the building. Find your identity in who lives in you! Why? Because you really are, His Church.
A prayer for you: Lord, thank you for allowing me to be born in a country where I can speak freely about you–for the most part anyway. Each Sunday, countless amounts of people go to buildings to worship you and be taught about you. Today, I lift up every preacher and teacher in America, and all throughout the world, directly to you. Touch their hearts and help them understand who you really are. Help them to teach their listeners about your love, grace, and truth. Use their words to mold this generation into people who love you, respect you, HONOR you, and allow you to live through them. Thank you. In Christ’s name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days For Jesus, Volume 1. Get your copy here!