Read Psalm 122
Featured Verse: Psalm 122:1 (MSG)
“When they said, “Let’s go to the house of God,” my heart leaped for joy.”
The psalmist was talking about going to church, and unlike an increasing number of “Christians” in America, he was excited. Among other things, he was looking forward to gathering with God’s people to “give thanks to the name of God,” according to Psalm 122:5 (MSG). That’s just one of the things, albeit a very important thing, that believers are meant to do.
That is a decree, by the way, not an option for when we feel like it. As Eugene Peterson says, “Feelings are important in many areas, but completely unreliable in matters of faith.” The surest way to “feel like it” is by doing the very thing you don’t feel like doing–in this case, going to church to give thanks. When we get up and get going to church to give thanks, by faith and in obedience, the result will be that we will develop the best feelings of all: feelings for God!
I am told that the average church-goer in the United States now attends their place of worship just a tick under two times per month. Somehow I don’t think that would cut it with the psalmist, who centered his life around the house of God, and I know it doesn’t cut it with God.
God loves it when his family stops by for dinner, and he has so ordered it that we should do that on a regular basis. (Hebrews 10:24-25) One could argue that nowhere does the Bible say that has to be every Sunday, but I would counter that with, first of all, the practice of the church from the beginning, which was gathering for praise, thanks, instruction and encouragement, minimally, every week on the first day. And second of all, those who make that argument have missed the point: Gladness in going to God’s house. If you are finding reasons not to go, and justifying those reasons, it is highly likely that your reservoir of gladness is empty.
If that is the case, I would suggest you go to God and ask him to fill your tank. He is pretty good about doing that. And if you just don’t feel like going to God, or to church, grab your feelings if you have to and drag them with you. When you do, at some point you will make one of the great discoveries in life, a discovery that great people of faith have known for some time: You can act your way into feeling much more quickly than you can feel your way into acting.
“The Bible wastes very little time on the way we feel.” ~Paul Scherer