As a photographer, I sometimes see things a little differently than those who aren’t photographers. A non-photographer might look at a flower and think, “Oh, how pretty!” while I would start thinking about different angles and camera settings that would make that flower look just as pretty in a photograph. That same thing happened to me yesterday morning in church. The service had just gotten started, and the preacher was still taking prayer requests. I happened to notice the sunlight shining in through the windows. All the windows had been stained white, so the sunlight created a nice glow within the church. My mind drifted for a moment as I composed a mental image of the scene when it hit me. If I had taken a picture of that particular moment, the people on the church pews would just been warm bodies to fill in the picture and make it look good.
An example of warm bodies can be basketball players sitting on the bench. You know the ones that never play because they’re so terrible at the sport and might make the team look bad? The ones that look and act like real players but in reality, they aren’t true players. What about within the church? This same principle happens way too often in the congregation. There are so many people who only attend church without actually applying what they hear to their life. They come in mostly every Sunday morning and sit on the church pews, Bible in hand, all dressed up. But they still haven’t made that decision to accept Christ as their personal Savior.
1 Samuel 16:7 states, “The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” And in the New Testament, “God does not judge by external appearance.” (Galatians 2:6) These people aren’t there to make the church look good, like the basketball players, but instead they are there to make themselves look good. Society is concerned with how people look on the outside, but God isn’t. He doesn’t give a single care if you are at church every single Sunday morning and every single Wednesday night if you don’t live as one of His followers. Church is important, yes, but it doesn’t make you a Christian.
Yes, I know this is a message that is preached very often, but I felt like God spoke to me yesterday morning when I saw that light filtering through the glass. To top that off, the preacher’s message was similar to what God laid on my heart. Regardless of how many times congregations hear this message, it still doesn’t seem to be working as well as it should. Many church go-ers are still just warm bodies, more focused on what society thinks rather than their inner appearance.
Are you focused on your inner appearance? Or are you just an actor, playing the part of a Christian without actually living your life for God? If you answered “yes” to the latter question, here are a few things I suggest you do: keep going to church. Stop merely sitting on the pews and become active. Go to church events, get to know others in the congregation, pay attention to the weekly message and ponder how it can be applied to your life. Also, read your Bible daily. Even if it’s just a chapter; the Bible was written so that it could be read. Find a book of devotions, or begin a reading plan. Bryant Wright has an excellent devotional book called “Right from the Heart”. I think it was set to be read in 2012, but the messages are still important. As for the reading plan, there’s an app called YouVersion. With it, you have access to the entire Bible in practically any version you wish. This app also contains countless reading plans. I’m currently reading the “Discipleship Journey: Book-a-day” reading plan. I’m going to read through the whole Bible in a year! If you don’t have a smartphone, YouVersion can also be accessed on your computer. I don’t know how well it works with Internet Explorer, but I know it works really well with Chrome.
If you decide to do these things, stick with it! There are people who are willing to keep you motivated, including myself.
I hope you enjoyed reading my message, and that it maybe affected you in a positive way. Don’t forget to tell your friends about me!