delight in Him

“Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

    Psalm 37:4 NIV

Church is not God.

Church is a group of faithful people gathered at a common place with the intention to meet with God.

But church is not God.

Those of us raised by church-going folk, (we contemporary 20-somethings who have since gone astray from the ways of Sunday morning praise) quickly associate our sentiments towards church with our sentiments towards God. 

But church is not God.

I used to like going to church because I knew all the answers in Sunday School; and nice ladies would tell my mom that they prayed their little girls would grow up to be just like me. As I got older, I still knew the answers – but I didn’t raise my hand as much because I had to put up with Saturday night screaming in my ear; telling me to put my hand down. It wasn’t fun anymore.

Eventually, Saturday stole Sunday.

I decided I didn’t like church. I stopped going.

And because I didn’t like church, I thought I also didn’t like God.

But church is not God.

We were made for God. No other religion or philosophy or worldview leads to eternal, everlasting life. Only Jesus can satisfy every longing. Only Jesus came to give us life and life to the fullest.

We know this. We’re Sunday school superstars.

But when we find ourselves avoiding church: whether for fear of judgement, fear of conviction, or otherwise, we must ask ourselves,

Are we avoiding church, or we are avoiding God?

 If we believe in God’s love and existence and goodness, why do we avoid the physical space designated for an encounter with Him?

Because we don’t delight in Him.

You cannot truly delight in church until you have learned to delight in GodBelonging to a church is the natural extension of a heart that delights in God. Until you desire to dwell in His presence, you will continue to avoid church.

But how do we delight in God when we just want to do bad things?

It’s hard.

It requires change. It requires intentionality. It requires humility. It requires sacrifice.

It requires doing things you don’t want to do – reading your Bible instead of reading 50 Shades of Grey. Listening to worship music instead of listening to top 40. Watching a sermon series instead of binging on Orange is the New Black. 

It requires faith in the truth of the entirety of this verse: Psalm 37 promises that as we take the time to just sit in His presence – even when we don’t want to – He will implant new desires within us. He will uproot the stems of Saturday night sexual sin. Tequila won’t taste as good. Porn won’t be worth it.

Why?

Because He will give us new desires.

Good desires.

      PeaceJoy. Purpose. 

Then, and only then, will we gladly go to church.