Sometimes we think that all the answers are at church. We think that to learn about God, we need to go to church. We think that to get “more spiritual” we should go to church. We think that our problems will be solved if we go to church. We think that we are closest to God at church.
And while church is very, very important, I have found that something radically different is true, at least for me.
Here’s the thing: church does not meet these needs.
➵ Church does not make me feel more spiritual.
➵ Church does not solve my problems.
➵ Sometimes I get bored during sermons.
➵ Church is not where I learn the most about God.
In fact, when I go to church with all of these expectations, I leave feeling a whole lot worse than when I came. Because it’s not up to church to fix our problems. It’s not up to church to give us a good relationship with the LORD. It’s up to us.
Do not mistake my meaning when I say I don’t find God in church. I certainly feel his presence there, I certainly do learn things, and I certainly do feel encouraged by being with brothers and sisters in Christ.
But where I truly find God is not listening to a sermon or sitting in the middle of a crowded church sanctuary. It is in the solitude of my own room, or the quietude of nature. It is between the pages of the Bible, not the words of a preacher. It is the depth of my personal relationship with God that satisfies the needs of my soul, and it is what He reveals to me on my own that impacts me more than anything I could hear in a church building.
➵ Being with God makes me feel more spiritual.
➵ Communion with God is what solves my problems.
➵ Spending time with the LORD never bores me.
➵ Meditating on and studying God’s word is when I learn the most about Him.
And here is something that every Christian needs to know: church is not going to give us the foundation in Christ that we need. It is the substance of our daily walk with God that either makes or breaks us. If we think going to church will solve our problems, then we have a problem. It’s not what we do in public. It’s what we do in the private of our own lives that contributes to our success or our downfall.
So if you are struggling in your faith, don’t think going to church more is going to fix the problem. Rather, evaluate the quality and quantity of your time spent alone with the LORD. Because chances are, that is what really needs fixing. I know it’s true for me.