Someone asked me this once and honestly, I didn’t have a good answer for them. You see, I attended church services for a few years before I chose to put on Christ, live for Him and started taking my faith seriously. I know I was definitely caught off guard, but since I wasn’t a Christian at the time, I mumbled something about how you are just supposed to go to church and I had some friends who went there also.
My motivations for going to church at first were social. I like people, I enjoy seeing them, visiting with them and being around them. I had a pretty good understanding of right and wrong and understood that to fulfill my social wants, a church building was a better place to see others than a house party. I would come each service looking for one thing, and eventually I found another.
Like all Christians, I came to understand just how much God had done for me, how much he loved me and desired for me to follow Him. I understood that alone, I can do nothing but that with Christ, all things are possible for those who believe. (Mark 9:23) I learned that only God could fill the void I felt in my heart. I recognized that my life was meant for a greater purpose than what it was at the time. I decided I no longer wanted to spend one minute separated from the God who created me.
God didn’t care that the reason I first began to learn and think about having a relationship with Him was a selfish one. God doesn’t care about the hows or whys, he cares about our hearts and He wants them for himself. In a sermon I heard last Sunday, the minister shared a story about a man he knew and his journey to Christ. The man’s reason for coming to church was also selfish: he wanted to find a good wife. He knew he had a better chance of finding a faithful and loving wife inside the church doors than outside them. After attending for a while, the man admitted to the minister that he knew he needed to become a Christian and he even wanted to, but he felt guilty because he didn’t come looking for God. He thought that God wouldn’t take him because of his selfish motives.
But the man was forgetting something. God forgives all. We need only to understand our wrongs, ask God for forgiveness and try not to do it again. (Acts 26:20)
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” –Matt. 7:7
Now that I have been a Christian for several years, I feel confident that I could give a better answer to someone should they inquire why I attend church services. I know that we meet together each week to worship God in spirit and in truth, we pray to Him, honor Him, praise Him, show our love to Him, remember that He sent His Son to die for us, and to fellowship with members of our Christian family, being also encouraged and strengthened by them.
The Bible actually tells us we should be ready to defend our faith if someone should question it.
“always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience…” – 1 Peter 3:25-16
Peter tells us we should always be prepared to tell others why we believe in and follow Christ. If you know a history of Peter at all, then you should understand that he speaks from experience. You see, after Christ was arrested and about to be hanged on the cross as a criminal, Peter was afraid and denied that he knew Him. He knew his failure, was ashamed of it, and desired that no one else make the same mistake he did. (Mark 14:72)
Even though Peter’s faith failed him at a crucial moment, it must’ve been extremely strong. Not only did he live out the remainder of His days proclaiming the love of Christ to the world, but in the midst of Jesus’ ministry on earth, Jesus knew his heart and saw that it was strong enough to build His church on, even knowing as He did that Peter would deny Him in a moment of weakness. Peter always gets a bad rap, but personally, I’ve always admired him. For Jesus to be that sure of him and for Jesus to be able to speak these powerful words about Him, I think that’s something to strive for.
“Now when Jesus came to the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” – Matthew 16:13-19
I’ll end by asking you a question. Why do you go to church? If you don’t know, please find out. Dive into God’s word and find out the truth for yourself. If you don’t know where to start, talk and study with a Christian you know. And importantly, always be ready to defend your faith to others. Who knows? You may be God’s instrument in leading that person to Him.