I heard an interesting comment the other day. It was something to the effect that most Christians see church as a habit of convenience.
"If nothing else is going on, then I will make it to church."
Church, gathering with other believers, is something that is not generally prioritized by most in the scheduling of the week, month or year, etc.
This is something I am just as guilty of as anyone else. I remember when I first was really on my own, not just out of the house but still in Bible school. I had no-one who was dictating my behavior or habits. I could make my own choices about my time.
This was liberating. Intoxicating?
And, as most "kids" do, I used my liberty to serve my selfish desires.
I told myself, "You don't lose your salvation over not going to Sunday school (or whatever other service I wanted to skip)."
And I was right. I didn't. You don't.
But what I failed to see, or just refused to acknowledge, was that I was neglecting one of the most vital and important things that God has created for anyone who has a relationship with him: Church. The Body.
When I let myself prioritize other things over time with other Christians, I neglected accountability, encouragement, comfort, growth, love, forgiveness... the list could go on!
It takes a perspective shift to turn aside from what the culture says around me (put yourself first! Treat yo' self! Do what makes you happy! Seek affirmation from _____ at all costs!), to make meeting with the Body of Christ a priority. Above sports, above concerts, above "I stayed out too late last night", above whatever other excuses and activities going on.
Because I believe that when I miss meeting with other believers at my local church in my community, I miss one of the most important ministries and places for me to serve and love that there is.
So, by the grace of God, we are making church more of a priority intentionally, not just habitually, around here... even if it means missing out on some of my beloved morning snoozes.
ps, you can find out more about my fantastic local church here.