Why Are We Here?

Walk into a doctor’s office and look around. Why is everyone there? Because they’re sick and they need a physician to get better. Walk into a Toastmasters club and look around you. Why is everyone there? Because they want to get better at speaking in front of people and they need help. Walk into an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and look around you? Why is everyone there? Because they are struggling with alcohol and they need help overcoming.

Here is what is interesting about the above organizations. No one tries to hide their sickness in a doctor’s office. No one tries to hide their fear of public speaking in Toastmasters. No one tries to hide their struggles in an A.A. meeting. Why? Because in these settings they all know everyone is there for the same reason and they are all too desperate for help to hide it.

Now, walk into a church’s assembly and look around you? Why is everyone there? The reality is everyone is there because they are all sinners and need a Savior (Romans 3:23-24). They are all there because they’ve learned without God they can’t make it and they need Him to help them win the victory over sin in their lives (Romans 7:14-25).

This is where we start having trouble. Even though that is where every single one of us is. When we come into a church’s assembly, we often perceive something different. Instead of seeing a group of people who are struggling with sin and have gathered to get some help, most of us see ourselves as struggling with sin but see everyone else as really good people who are just coming together because they are so spiritual. When we’re at a doctor’s office, we don’t care if everyone knows we’re sick, but when we’re “at church” we try to cover up any spiritual sickness we have going on. We don’t want others to see. We’re afraid they’ll look down on us.

Sadly, some Christians are like that. Some are like Simon the Pharisee in Luke 7:36-50 who actually don’t realize how sick they are. If asked why they are there, they really might say, “Because I’m so spiritual,” while in their mind adding, “Too bad everyone is not as spiritual as I am.” Having met too many of these Christians, many of the rest of us put a lid on our real struggles and try to fight them alone until they become too big to hide. Sadly, in those situations some folks just give up the spiritual fight entirely.

In this situation, the ones who should really be ashamed are not the ones who have continued struggles. Rather, the ones who should be ashamed are the ones who think they’ve got their lives under control on their own and aren’t being honest about how sinful they really are, how much they need a Savior, and how humble they really ought to be as they’re dealing with people whose sins are different. Remember, in the parable of the prodigal son, it wasn’t the prodigal son who was the bad guy. It was the older brother who was too good to go in and celebrate with the returning prodigal and the father.

Please, take a good long look at yourself. Why are you here?


Tell God How You Really Feel

Do you want to have an amazing relationship with God? Would you like to pray as the psalmists did? Would you like to connect on a gut level with the Almighty through your prayers? Though we can learn numerous things from the psalmists, perhaps the greatest lesson is to be honest with God.

I don’t just mean tell the truth. I don’t just mean if you did it, confess it. I mean be rigorously honest about our emotions. Tell God how you really feel.

The most repeated genre of the psalms is the lament or the complaint. These psalms contain statements such as:

“Why, O LORD, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?”—Psalm 10:1.

“How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?”—Psalm 13:1-2.

“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.”—Psalm 22:1-2.

Many of us have felt these same feelings, but we would think we were blaspheming if we said them. The psalmists did not fear this. They were honest about how they felt and they took it to God.

Perhaps we fear angering God. That is how we deal with each other sometimes. We are so afraid someone will get upset if we tell them how we really feel we just keep it on the inside. God is not like us. We can trust Him with our feelings. We don’t have to manage His feelings. Just read the psalms and discover God wants us to bring this to Him. He doesn’t want us bottling it up inside where it will poison our faith. He wants us expressing it and getting it out so we can get back to relying on our faith in Him, just as the psalmists repeatedly did.

Of course, anger is not the only emotion in the psalms. There is fear, despair, joy, happiness, loneliness, shame, guilt, hope, etc. Many scholars search in vain for some kind of order to the psalms. They are surprised the laments are lumped together and the praises aren’t together in a pile. I think the reason is because the psalms mirror life. Today, I may be overjoyed, while tomorrow something may anger me or depress me. The psalms are a mix of all these. But their number one lesson is don’t hide what you are really feeling from God. Think of it this way, in reality, He already knows. You can’t really hide it from Him. You might as well share it with Him. Be honest with God.