There are all too many times when individuals just go through “the motions,” whether those motions be at work, at home, in a relationship, or with their religiosity. They seem to think that if they just fake it long enough, show up on time, or act the right way, that eventually their heart will follow, but that is only sometimes the case. But, working hard at your place of employment, or at a relationship, or at your spirituality can actually change your atitude, and your outlook to a much deeper level. Going through the motions will only get you so far.
In my church, as I am sure many others, church attendance is a basic function of its members – it’s expected in order for you to be regarded as a “good Christian member.” And even if you go slightly above and beyond by volunteering at Church, or attending all meetings and gatherings, it can still just be a show of devotion, not of true worship.
The thing is, being truly converted, truly in love with something (work or a relationship or God) requires much more of an investment of our time and even our actions. Being converted is a change of heart. It is having a paradigm shift. It is a humbling, soul-searching process that leaves you a different person in the end, a better person, a happier person. It aligns your priorities to their proper spheres. It changes your perspective.
Becoming truly converted to the cause of truth, to Jesus, to God, doesn’t just mean being baptized or paying tithes and offerings or showing up to church. It’s an internal process and it is rarely accomplished overnight.
Right now in my life, I am on a journey to be more than a church attending, scripture reading, tithe paying, church serving Christian. Because, while I have always been active in my church, right now I don’t feel totally converted.
I have been going through the motions of an active Christian church member, but I feel my testimony’s burning blaze has become only an ember.
Testimonies, or faith, are either waning or waxing, growing or dying. While I’ve been feeding my testimony good Christian actions, it seems to have built up a resistance to them as it is no longer helping it grow. I feel stagnant in my zealous attitude towards true meaningful faith in the Lord and I’ve had enough of it. I am finally doing something about it.
I recently shared how my husband and I are striving to say one truly meaningful prayer a day, for a month, and see what happens. I’ve also been trying to study my scriptures, instead of just reading them.
I do this by looking up cross-references, by discussing what I’ve read with another, or by using supplemental materials (study manuals or sermons). But, I’m also thinking more about my beliefs and about God throughout the day.
I also am trying to look for the blessings I have in my life and share the good things that have happened that week in my journal.
I am doing these things to convert my heart. I will still be attending church faithfully and all the other good things I have done, but finally striving to implement what I read and hear at church to penetrate deep into my soul.
I deeply desire a close and personal relationship with my Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ. I am sick of being a “Sunday Christian” at heart.
Have you ever had a journey of the heart? How do you stay converted to God and not just converted to church?
Clare B. Gerber says
I am a Catholic and except for the past four years I had attend Mass every Sunday, Holidays, made a retreat during Lent most years. I had also been very involved in many areas for about 35 years. One day while sitting at Mass I heard the words from our Pastor “Be hot or cold, but if you are lukewarm I will spit you out of my mouth”. I realized that I was lukewarm. Going to church became a ‘habit’ for me. I no longer was inspired by the sermons nor found many of extra teachings to be of value. I had read so many negative articles regarding the Catholic Church especially priest abusing children. I began to question why I was going to Church. Habit! Was the only answer I could come up with. I no longer attend Mass but I am involved with Catholic Church reform. God has always been there and He has helped in so many ways I knew I did not need the Church to access Him.
Kathryn H. says
I am also Catholic. In the Mass we have the chance to receive the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus. Through the Eucharist, God can heal us from the pain and scandals of life. I hope that through your ongoing search for a deeper relationship with the Lord, you will find the desire to return to the sacraments. They are the treasure of the Catholic Church, and nothing anyone does that is not Christlike can take that away from us. They are where we meet the Lord in the flesh.
Katelyn Fagan says
Yes! We weekly take the sacrament in my church and if nothing else happens at church that seems to “do” anything for me, at least I can personally take the sacrament and renew my commitment to Jesus Christ.
Katelyn Fagan says
Clare – I do think it’s important that you realized this about your faith and your walk with him. We don’t need the church access Him. Church should be a tool help us draw closer to Him, to help strengthen the body of Christ (aka help other people in their faith and struggles), and to renew our commitments and covenants through partaking of the Sacrament. The habit of going to church is a good habit to have! And certainly, the Lord would not be ashamed of you for that righteous choice! But, yes, we should be lukewarm in our testimony and in our true walk and devotion to the Savior, which is something we cannot gain if church is the only spiritual input in our lives. It’s a personal commitment.
Clare B. Gerber says
A spiritual life is very important to me. I also feel that we are on this earth to reach out and help other people. God inspires us so that we may be the answer to someone’s prayer. I have belonged to a Prayer Group for many years. I believe a number of these people are anointed by God to speak His word that guides and challenges us. We start the meeting with spiritual songs and then there is a quite time for reflection. At times there are Bible passages shared or some personal reflection – all words help us. This is mana for me. I also work with a group of individuals that pray and comfort Cancer patients. I believe that if we listen carefully God will guide us to a person or place where he feel we can be helpful. Many of the people in these groups have bee helpful and supportive when I need help. God has surrounded me with beautiful people – I am thankful.
Mmabore Thema says
I love my church, but don’t always get to go, mostly because I’ve moved and it’s far, but also because it now takes more effort to attend – which I feel is testing my heart. The hearts journey has been supported by my attending church and by being lazy and not going, my journey is affected. Thank God for posts like these, where God not convicts us through His people, but also His word which we plug into. Its not easy, and the stagnation creeps in! But God always brings His people together – as He says, His sheep do hear His voice.