Georges River Congregational Church Devotion from Pastor Haydn Sennitt – Is Church Your Delight?
When you become Christian, it’s easy to delight in God – knowing that He’s sent His only Son to save you is something to dance about. For many Christians, however, our delight evaporates when we see our fellow Christians. Church, then, becomes an optional extra, rather than a necessity.
Sadly, while we know what the Christian life should be like, we glance at the sinful people sitting next to us on Sunday and think ‘Gosh, she’s not really living the Christian life. I wish she’d get her act together’. She, the one you’ve just been secretly bad-mouthing, has been probably looked at you and thought the same thing. Then again, we have good reason to feel this way as we see Christians (lay and clerical) with body piercings, churches running Justin Bieber-style “worship” concerts that idolise money, people supporting left-wing political causes, witchcraft among church members, personal compromise, pastors abusing fellow pastors, and Christian media that are just as pagan as a Woodstock music festival.
Leading men of the Bible experienced the same, but interestingly, they also experienced joy when they encountered other godly souls. King David experienced the backstabbing of ‘righteous’ former friends (Ps 55:12-14); and yet in Psalm 16:2-3, He wrote: “I say to Yahweh, “You are my Lord; I have no good over You”. As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight”. For David, the love of God and His people went hand-in-hand. Elijah, Israel’s prophet, went up a mountain to complain that he was all alone (1 Kings 19:14); and yet when God told him that there were 7,000 others who were righteous, Elijah was so delighted that he was able continue his ministry (19:18-19). Paul wrote bitterly that he had been abandoned by others (2 Tim 4:16), and yet it was the church which gave him transfusions of joy (2 Thess. 1:2-3).
Church may not provide the vibrant, blood-pumping excitement that we get from our Twitter accounts, or our regular hydrotherapy sessions (heaven forbid), but it is the fire that keep us glowing like coals. Knowing that others are staying firm and not compromising is so encouraging – and imagine how much your witness will encourage others! We will never know until we get to heaven, but be assured that church is here for our delight. Let us pray that God will help us to see it this way and not give up on one another. May God restore this joy for those of us who have lost it from being hurt by others in the church.