My family was driving through Alabama on our recent spring break trip when a billboard on I-65 suggested: “GO TO CHURCH! Or the Devil Will Get You!”
A bunch of thoughts ran through my head when I saw it (after the initial reaction of WHOA!). Realistically, people have tried out church for all sorts of reasons, fear of the devil included. Others agree to check it out because it makes their moms happy. Maybe you tried it out because your Christian friends have a peace that you’ve been looking for but haven’t found yet. Some believe a moral foundation is good for the kids. Others go along because church is a small price to pay for the brunch after.
This coming Sunday is Easter, and I’m hoping you’ll consider going to church for another reason. Not because you’re afraid the devil will get you but to hear that “the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work” (1 John 3:8). That means he “got” the devil and that if you believe in Jesus, your future is secure. The devil can’t “get” you.
At church you’ll hear that God “got” Jesus on the cross, punishing him for the times we hurt people, lie, cheat, drink too much—the times we sin. Then Jesus rose from the dead, defeating the devil’s work and bringing us back into a relationship with God.
Now to be fair, that billboard isn’t completely wrong. The Bible does remind us to “be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). But because of Jesus’ victory on Easter, we have the security of knowing that nothing can separate us from the love of God.
So do I think you should go to church? Yep! Not because the devil will get you but because God’s “got” you—and now you get salvation, peace, joy, hope, gentleness, goodness, and the promise of an eternal life with him.
God’s got you! Want to know what else you’ll get from church? A number of studies have found surprise bonus benefits of being there regularly.
- A happy and meaningful—and less stressful—activity. A Washington Post article about the happiest jobs uncovered this surprising information about church and discovered that the happiest places on earth are not related to Disney but are places of worship.
- Lower risk of death from despair. A Harvard study found that deaths from alcohol, drugs, and suicide are significantly less common among healthcare workers who regularly attend religious services: 68% lower among women and 33% lower among men.
- Better sleep. King David knew this when he said, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).
- More stable, happy, and sexually satisfying marriages. Multiple studies show that, though it isn’t a complete guarantee, marriages among those who attend church regularly have better results.
- Less stress. Vanderbilt University discovered that those who attend church worship reduce their risk for mortality by 55%. They are less stressed, as measured by blood pressure, cholesterol, and other physical factors.
- More likely to be generous. Studies show that people who attend church have an 81% likelihood of donating to secular causes as well as their church, while someone who doesn’t only has a 60% likelihood of donating to any cause at all.
GO TO CHURCH! God’s got you!
Linda Buxa is a writer and Bible study leader who, as a parent, occasionally tried to get her kids to behave by using tactics that included threats or bribes, so she’s not saying she’s above this method.