I sincerely pray that this new year will bring you peace, joy, and grace in Jesus. I pray that we will all become healthier and more focused on the things that are important rather than the frivolous things that bombard us in the culture war. Trust me, I DO understand that the culture war is important, however if we get so absorbed in the swirling media cesspool that is main stream media these days… well, we are distracted from the mission. You know, the mission of the church… evangelizing the lost and discipling the saved. Speaking of the church…
I’d like to propose a New Year’s resolution that may sound a bit different, but timely. Those of us who are believers in Jesus, saved, blood-bought and redeemed, Christians, followers of the Way, or however your Oikos would refer to it, let’s decide to fall back in love with the Church. I mean, the way you felt about her right after you got saved – hallelujah!
I suppose the reason I want to write about this is two-fold. First, I was recently with a group of believing friends when a topic of discussion arose about the failings of many American churches (little “c”). More times that I would like to hear, I have heard similar sentiments voiced in different settings and within various groups. Among some folks, it seems to be sheek to bash the church and point out her blemishes and weak points. Sometimes when we gather with like-minded friends, it is too easy to go on a rant, listing all the things we think are wrong with the church. I strongly caution all of us to be careful about how we discuss the Bride of Jesus.
Here are a few verses that may be helpful right about now: Acts 20:28, Matthew 16:18, Romans 12:5, Matthew 18:20, Ephesians 1:22, Colossians 1:18, and especially the contrast stated here in Ephesians 5:22-33.
Ok, at this point if you are bristling a bit with my commentary, let me state main-point-two. I was in church recently and found my mind wandering to all the things that I didn’t agree with. I wondered about the song service – was it corporate worship or a performance? I questioned the motivation about how certain people always seem to hold their hands up during that current radio hit song – was it to “look” spiritual or was it a reaction to a deeper spiritual reality? Then it hit me. I too was criticizing the church, looking for the chinks in her armor rather than holding her up as the model that Jesus established. OUCH!!! The truth hurts, doesn’t it?
Wrapping up, if you believe in Jesus as your personal Savior, join me in loving the Bride of Christ with a renewed spirit this year. Sure, she is not perfect, but she is the Bride and she is VERY important to Jesus. If you see something that you can influence concerning her behavior, do it with love, grace, and patience. If we love her in the way that Ephesians chapter 5 suggests, our view of her will certainly change. Amen.
PS: I started the year off in a local church, did you?