Some go to church to be inspired and uplifted… I understand that, there are times I need that. Some go to receive comfort… There are times I’ve desperately needed that as well. Others go to be informed about what the Bible teaches and what they believe… That’s an important reason as well. The need for genuine fellowship is also valid and important. Authentic worship is also an essential reason for church gatherings. Others go to church in order provide service to God and others… That is certainly important. All of these things are important reasons to go to church.
However, in my Bible reading today during my time of “coffee with the Lord” I found another reason I attend church… Here it is from Proverbs 15:31-32…
“The ear that listens to life-giving REPROOF will dwell among the wise. Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to REPROOF gains intelligence.”
“Reproof” – What is it? A reproof is defined as a negative comment, reprimand, or rebuke.
I don’t know about you, but there are times I need to be challenged! Course correction, as I seek to follow Christ is often in order. Attitudes need to be changed. Behavior that is displeasing to the Lord needs correction. Practices that leach away faith, hope and love need to cease. Reproof; lovingly, but directly spoken in the power of the Holy Spirit with the authority of God’s word make me better – keep me on the right track – and draw me closer to God!
My father, Ewalt Bartel, would sometimes embarrass his sons by responding to so many invitations at church – things, at our church, that we called “altar calls!” He was a devoted follower of Jesus, but if he heard something in a sermon that challenged Him, he would acknowledge it, step to an isle in Church, go forward and settle it with his personal commitment in a time of prayer. His response? “I’m never too good for an ‘altar call!’ If God speaks to my heart through His word, I’ll respond!”
Reproof – it’s not the only reason I go to church, to be sure… But it is certainly one reason I go! Listen, I’m not going to church to be made more comfortable! I’m going to draw nearer to the Lord and to lead a life that is pleasing to Him!