take me to church: duty, worship, and love. 

Imagine sitting at home on a Saturday evening, reading a book by the fire in your pajamas perhaps, when the door bell rings. Curiously, you rise and peek out the window. There’s your husband, standing just outside the door with a bouquet of flowers. Of course you’re going to open the door, heart racing because this seems all so romantic, but you’ll likely ask him why he rang the door bell, and for what occasion he’s brought flowers anyway.

Now imagine your husband looks at you and says, “It’s my duty.”

Queue: instant deflation.

I was listening to a message by John Piper on the Desiring God podcast (which I highly recommend listening to it in its entirety), and he shared this idea with a group of men, most of them future military leaders and the room erupted in laughter. These men value and honor duty, it is held in high esteem to them. So why did they laugh?

They laughed because it’s the wrong answer.

If any husband told his wife that he was only shown up to the door with flowers because it was his duty, she’d likely close the door in his face.

No, we, the receiving of this romance and adoration, want to hear that he’s at our door because he loves us, he adores us, and it would give him no greater pleasure than to spend his evening alone with us in order to shower us with that affection.

That makes a woman feel honored, valued, and adored; knowing that her man is there for her, not out of obligation, but because he delights in her.

So now, let’s look at the same scenario, but on a Sunday morning (and bear with me a moment, this may seem a little silly): imagine Jesus, sitting in heaven on His throne, when the door bell rings. He rises and opens the door, and you’re there, in your Sunday best and a lovely song to sing. Jesus smiles, and says, “What are you doing here?”

And you reply, “It’s my duty.”

Sunday mornings, right? That’s what Christians do, we go to church, we sing, we hear a message, and we go home.

Queue: Jesus’ instant deflation.

In the same way that a husband only showing affection and expressing his pleasure in his wife out of obligation would crush his wife’s heart and spirit, we can do the same thing to the heart of our Savior when we are only showing up to worship on Sundays (or whatever day you may make it to a service) out of obligation.  

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4 ESV)

I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10 NLT)

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. (Philippians 4:4 ESV)

What draws you to worship on Sundays?

Is it obligation? Or are you arriving each Sunday, ready and willing knock on heaven’s door to shower your adoration on Jesus?

To be clear, worship certainly does go beyond Sunday morning or Saturday evening services, and worship is definitely more than a song. The Bible says that our very lives are our worship of God:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (Romans 12:1 ESV)

But the question remains: what draws you to it?

Is it out of duty to God, because He says that He is worthy? Or are you deeply, madly, and wholly captivated by your Savior to the point that you would only be satisfied and delighted by showering your affections upon Him?

Jesus isn’t looking for our conjured up or forced affections. He’s just looking for our love.

And it is through our love that our obedience is born – not through our obligations or duty to Him and His Word.

Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.” (John 14:23 NLT)  

I encourage you, sisters, to take up the book God left for you, the Bible tells a story about who He is and what He has done for you. And pray while you read that His love would be revealed to you and that it would draw you, not merely to a dutiful obedience, but into a deep and heart melting love of Him.

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