Sunday, March 20, 2016

The True Church

Disclaimer: I'm no theologist... just a Jesus loving girl who wants everyone to go to Heaven with me. And my opinions are my own, but I do believe that His Word is the true discerner of what is true and what isn't. If there's something that I've said, let it only misrepresent me and not Jesus... because His ways are higher than mine and He deserves only the best Word.

Yesterday I read a post by an author that I really like, Jen Hatmaker.

Basically, she had been uninvited to a speaking event at a church because of her stance on something.

Her post talked about acceptance and love, which is important to the Christian faith.

It spoke of terrifying statistics about how the "next generation" (young adults and below) are abandoning the church as they become of age to make their own decisions, because of hypocrisy and irrelevance.

This, my friends, is scary to me...

but I see it every day.

I see it when I turn the television on, and there is cursing and sex on primetime TV.

I see it in our political candidates who spar in debates, resulting to below the belt hits.

I see it in a general lack of compassion in our society.

And it makes me want to weep.

I can see the writing on the wall...

and it isn't good.

Just as Daniel foretold destruction because the King had violated God's commandments, I fear the same destruction for our beloved America.

But I also am saddened because I don't know how people can make it without God.

I'll be the first to admit that a lot of the time, I try to make it without God. I go about things my own way and don't consult him. I hold grudges and act ugly and seek myself before others, which directly opposes what He says. I am not innocent...

but I also know the peace that comes when I surrender things to Him. The comfort I have found in Him when there is none. The joy I have found when I should be mourning, because His joy is my strength.

I know of His goodness and HIs mercy and forgiveness.

And daily, even as I struggle with myself, I seek to serve Him... in truth and in love.

And I'm scared because I have an investment in this younger generation. I want Caleb to know Jesus like I'm coming to know Him... like I didn't know Him as a teenager.

And I'm selfish. I want Caleb in Heaven with me.

The crux of the great Christianity debate involves judgment and love. I see people who question how churches can act as businesses and grow monetarily; how churches are uncompassionate themselves and look down on others. They see this and want no part of it. They don't want to be judged for their sins, especially when they see many in the church who sin just like them.

I am not an expert on this subject, and it is not one to be taken lightly... but I do believe that this is often where people confuse religion and relationship.

The churches that you may point to full of hypocrisy?

Those are the same churches Jesus talked about in Revelation... who did not know the condition of themselves.

Those are not THE CHURCH... the Body of Christ that He will be returning for.

That church is about loving like Jesus... being a light to the world and being the salt of the earth.

Serving others.

Not judging.


Yet that church also must walk a fine line. We can't just let those we love go about living in their sin.

Sin is a separator. You can't be in a relationship with God with unchecked sin.

And just because He loves us unconditionally, it doesn't give us the freedom to keep sinning.

Christ came to set us free and give us His righteousness so we could be deemed worthy of God.

The plan was always for a relationship... not a set of rules that we had to follow or otherwise be deemed unworthy...

but in order for that relationship to take place, we have to be washed clean.

I don't think I'm explaining myself well, but this is a confusing topic.

As a Christian, I'm the light that others see... so I have to constantly be aware of decisions I make. Things I do and say. My tone of voice, even... because people are going to hold that up to what they believe the church is about and make a decision about whether Jesus is worth it. If they don't see a change in my actions, joy and hope and love and the ability to do better than I used to... why bother? What can Jesus do for them?

So I have to speak the truth in love. I can be accepting of others, demonstrating Jesus's love...

but there has to be a time when change is seen.

True commitment.

Realization that without Him, we can do nothing.

To the younger generation, it can't be a constant reminder of what they can't do. God is the Judge on the Throne, but He is also compassionate and full of mercy. He's not looking to strike us down... He's looking to empower us so we no longer make those decisions. It's not about the rulebook... it's about wanting to please Him because you love Him because of what He has done for you.

Because He died for you.

He literally took every sin that you have ever committed... ever thought about committing... and piled them up on them. He nailed them to a cross as they nailed Him to a cross. He was raised up for everyone to mock, suffering anguish, despised and rejected. He bled and died...

for you. 

Not because He had to.

But because He loves you.

Churches today are struggling as they try to figure out how to best evangelize to a society who wants their ears tickled. We all like feel good messages. We like to be told that we can do all things through Christ without really thinking about the sacrifice that may come with it... so that's what you see in many churches. No mention of sanctification and self-sacrifice...

but His Church? A church that looks to Him for righteousness?

That church is seeking Him, recognizing that the sacrifice is worth it. In the long run, love never fails and love allows us to love without judging while loving in truth.

Sin is pleasant for a season...

but true love, the kind that He is offering?

It lasts forever.

And the only way you can find it is to seek it for yourself... but I'd be happy to talk with you if you don't know Him... because even in His Word we're told to reason together.

I'm not perfect, and neither are you... but He is.

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