Far too many people come to church but never come to Jesus!
No I have not lost my mind, and yes I know a lot of priests and pastors will cringe at this statement, but that does not change the fact that it needs to be said. Showing up is not half the battle. The battle cannot be fought by simply showing up on the battle field. It is necessary to engage in the battle in order to win. And make no mistake, there is a spiritual battle happening each and every day of our lives.
If you come to church regularly, you may be particularly frustrated with the above paragraph. You might feel as though nothing you do is good enough. I mean, you are showing up at church – what more can anyone ask, right? Well, there’s a bit more to it than that. Imagine for a second that you showed up at work on Monday morning, but failed to do any work while you were there. Having owned a business for over 20 years, I’ve had employees who acted this way in the past, and while they may get away with it once in a while I can promise you they do not remain employees of mine for long if this behavior continues. In any relationship it is necessary for you to do more than just show up and go through the motions.
A personal relationship with Jesus means you spend time speaking with Him daily, not just on Sunday. Include Him in every part of your life. We aren’t just talking about any relationship; we are talking about a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus. Knowing Jesus takes time that must be intentionally spent getting to know Him on a deeper level. So if you are just showing up on Sunday to fulfill an obligation you have been conditioned to fulfill when you were younger, I pray whole heartedly that you go deeper in your faith life with Jesus!
Do you know what you believe as a Catholic? You should because you recite the Apostles Creed (or the Nicene Creed) every Sunday. Would you be able to say the words to this prayer by yourself without the overhead projector giving them to you? Would you be able to say the words without anyone else saying them alongside you? Could you teach another person this prayer? B Do you understand it well enough to explain why you believe what you believe? If not, take time to go deeper. Ask a priest, as a deacon, as someone who understands the words to this prayer and what they mean today! Take a class online, or do some research on your own to find out what you are proclaiming to believe. Take personal responsibility to get to know Jesus.
Jesus wants nothing more than you have you near him. So think about a way to help your faith grow and take a step in the right direction today. Start coming to Jesus and stop just showing up at church!