When I first became a believer I was fascinated by God and His Word. The Bible was alive and working in me as I learned how to follow God in thought and deed. I was captivated by God.
The beauty of the gospel. The power of the Saviour. The care of the father. It was amazing how God worked in my life and drew me into daily of worship of Him.
As time passes, one of the dangers of following after God is that we can lose our awe and wonder for who God is, and fall victim to being caught up in church instead of being captivated by Christ. Here are some of the ways that it manifests itself:
Caught up in rhythm
One danger is to become caught up in the rhythms of God rather than captivated by the glory of God. You have to admit that there is a certain rhythm to church life. Sunday service is 10:00 am. Lifegroups are 6:30 pm. We have a Monday Morning Minute on Facebook, a weekly email blast, a monthly bulletin and Equip sessions, yearly summer camp… you get it. Even our spiritual life can get into a rhythm. Morning devotional with a little journalling, recite a little grace before each meal, say a few evening prayers before we turn in for the night. Before we know it these rhythms have rocked us to sleep like a spiritual lullaby.
When we turn to God's Word, we read about the church of Sardis in Revelation 3 whose works show that they are alive, but God tells them they are dead. He urges them to awaken, regain their strength, and continue with the work of the Lord. They need to reengage their minds and to put into practice what they have heard and received.
Caught up in belonging
Belonging is important, but some of us fall into the trap of being caught up in belonging to church instead of being captivated by Christ.
Remember the theme song of the 80s show Cheers? “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name and they're always glad you came!” Like Norm of old, we come to church thirsty for a place to call home, and to find friendships with other believers, but in the process we lose sight of what belonging really means.
Check out Ephesians 2:13: “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” What this means is that we belong because we have been brought in. The blood of Christ has made us acceptable in the sight of God, and through His sacrifice we become daughters and sons of the Most High God.
At Calvary we love the fact that we make connections with great people through our worship services and events, but our primary goal of belonging should be to foster relationships where we are helping those around us take a step to the right, or where we are being transformed by someone helping us take a step to the right. These spiritual friendships will keep us captivated by Christ by reminding us about being connected to the family of God.
Caught up in serving
Okay, confession time. I have always loved serving in the church. I love feeling useful, helpful, and being with others who are like-minded. Working together on a team to accomplish a goal is a lot of fun, and I really like learning new things. But there was a time when serving became more significant than my walk with Christ. When I served, i went to church. And when I had a “sit and soak Sunday” (aka, no serving!), I stayed home. After all, what was the point of going to church if I didn’t have to? Call it self-care, call it taking a Sabbath rest, or call it what it was… kinda dumb. As if God was only important if I was working in the nursery that day.
John 3:30-31 says, “He must increase, but I must decrease. He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all.” Here, John is actually talking about himself — he was writing about how his purpose was to point others to the glory of God, and not to take any of God’s glory for himself. He is simply a signpost to the goodness of God. These verses remind me that serving God is not a substitute for worshipping God, and to not be so caught up in serving God that I forget to be captivated by the person and presence of God.
Allow the Word of God to transform you as you study it, so that you can, as they say, "Keep the main thing the thing." Be in the presence of the Lord and revel in the beauty of the gospel message. Allow yourself, with fresh eyes, to be captivated by Christ and worship Him today.
Each week we post about a range of things from the Christian life, faith and more.
In these posts we hope you'll catch a glimpse of ordinary people who serve an extraordinary God.