Recently, there have been a few long time (but inactive) members of our church who have returned to Sunday morning worship. When told they had been sorely missed they confessed that they had missed the fellowship and corporate worship here at the church as well. Asked why they have been away for so long, the answers were similar.
“We just got out of the habit.”
You know, that’s very easy to do. A psychologist told a small sales group I was with many years ago that it takes an average of 21 days to form a habit. Good habits or bad habits. The example he used was asking us to take off our jackets and put them back on. As we began to put the jackets back on, he stopped us.
“Now” he said, “Notice which arm you start with. Take it off and put it on again, starting with the other arm.” We did that, and to a person we all felt very uncomfortable using the other arm. The Dr. then challenged us to spend the next 21 days using the other arm first in getting dressed. At first it was awkward and downright difficult. It required conscious effort and thought. But as the time progressed, it became less awkward, and within three weeks it had become the normal way I put on a shirt or jacket.
We are creatures of habit. In everything we do. It runs the gamut from how we dress, our daily routines, and our spiritual lives as well. If you are in a habit of quiet time with God in His Word and in prayerful communication with Him, you will do those things automatically. You simply appropriate the time needed. If you are not in that habit, it is difficult to get into that routine. It requires some effort at first. By the same token, if one allows other things to pull us away on a recurring basis, it is very easy to “get out of the habit”. In fact, we are forming a new habit.
Same thing goes with being an active member of the local church. Now understand that I am not saying that serving God in the local church should ever be “routine” or “just a habit”. We should first be motivated by a changed life in Christ, the leadership of the Holy Spirit, and a sense of love and duty to the Lord and His Church. Our service to Him does become “second nature” and corporate worship and fellowship with other believers are just two of the sweet benefits.
But sometimes, even with the best intentions, we allow conflicting things to “get out of the habit” of being an active part of the local church. The Devil will use anything, sometimes even those we love, to draw us away from our focus on Christ and our service to Him and His church.
Well, as you know, I could go on and on, but let me draw this to a close. Sunday, September 15th has been designated as “National Back To Church Sunday”. It is an interdenominational effort to encourage folks who may have “gotten out of the habit” to reconnect with the local church. It is at the church where we can come together and worship our Lord with like minded believers. It is at the church where we can build close personal relationships around the Word of God. It is through the church where we can do world wide missions through our personal participation and our financial support. It is through the church we can impact our family, our city, our region, and the world for Christ.
If you have been “out of the habit” and are physically able (as I know some of our precious readers are not) won’t you make an effort to come back to church? Start today to work on creating a new habit, one as simple, yet important as being in your place and doing your part. Bring your family. God’s church is for every age group. When we gather for worship, it should look like the Body of Christ, multi racial, little ones, teens, young adults, middle agers and “keen agers”!
I hope to see you on Sunday, September 15th. Bible Study in small groups begins at 9:45. Worship service begins at 10:45 sharp. Bring your Bible. Bring your family. Bring your tithes and offerings to the Father. Bring a friend.
And to our dear members who are homebound and unable to come, you can be a tremendous help by uniting with us in prayer. Pray that God will bring true revival among our people. Back to Church Sunday would be a great place to start!