Recently it took everything within me to drag myself to church (for Wednesday night Bible study). My body was tired, my mind exhausted, and my heart fatigued. Further, it meant bringing both children who, for one reason or another, always decide to act wild on those nights.
Long story short, I went to church that evening. By myself. Some nights my wife and kids stay home because the kids are simply too tired to behave correctly, and it makes for a very stressful evening. So, I went alone. And though all of my flesh was saying, “No, just stay home tonight,” I knew I would be in the wrong for listening to that. So, by God’s grace, I pushed through.
And then the providence of God showed up. When I arrived, I walked into the sanctuary and, after a short time, a fellow member asked me a question concerning the recent lesson I gave at church. It was through this little chat that, hopefully, I was able to minister to him. I was certainly blessed by the conversation.
When I got back home, I was telling Shale about this providential situation. It made me marvel at God. Even when I was struggling—even when my heart wasn’t fully in it—God showed me a tremendous amount of grace.
We all deal with our flesh, so I know I’m not the only one who has ever dealt with not wanting to go to church on a given day. (To be sure, I’m not saying all the time; just on a rare occasion.) When that feeling comes up, what do you do?
Repent. When we don’t want to go to church, that means our heart isn’t desiring something it should be. In other words, we should repent for our lack of a desire. To be clear, I’m not talking about something coming up and you’re providentially hindered. I am referring to a willful decision not to go simply because you don’t want to. And remember, there’s nothing wrong with repenting—it’s a gift (2 Tim. 2:25). All of the Christian’s life is repentance. Repentance should be a daily habit because sin is a daily vice.
Pray. When your heart says “No” to church, get on your knees and pray. Pray for forgiveness, for strength to get up and go, for grace to push through. Use every opportunity you have to pray. Those moments of apathy, of fatigue, of discouragement—turn them into moments of unceasing, God-glorifying prayer.
Trust. Above all, trust in the Lord. Even on your bad days—even on the days you don’t want to go to church—Jesus is still your righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). When you are weak, He is strong. Yes, you are sinning by not wanting to go to church—as Scripture is clear on not forsaking church (Heb. 10:25)—but that doesn’t mean God has forsaken you. Trust in His goodness to forgive you, to push you through by grace.
Christian, when you don’t want to go to church—that is all the more reason to go. You’ll be blessed and a blessing to others.