The Rocks and Road Blocks in Our Path: Church
When I got saved I had no idea what a Christian lifestyle looked like. I had just graduated from an intensive drug treatment program and Church to me was a bunch of druggies wailing on the guitar, singing songs that kids sing in Sunday School. There were no discipleship books or prayer services. We weren’t taught missions or how to share the love of Jesus. We were simply taught about Jesus, and how He could save us from ourselves.
As time went on, Church and all it entailed remained a mystery to me for many years. Although I tasted different concepts of the Church, I felt very empty and alone. When I looked around me it seemed like “doing Church” was an obligation and a hinderance to many. There were far and few that seemed to love me because Jesus loved me and honestly, I did not really care for them either, save a few people that took me to breakfast and let me cry to them.
Eventually I began bad mouthing the Church and I came up with all the excuses in the world why Church was a waste of time. I hated the format, the burden, the “worship,” the welcome. I hated it all. I even stopped saying I was a “Christian,” and started saying I was a “follower of Christ” because I did not want to be grouped with the people I resented.
Man, I was so wrong.
Today I am proud to call myself a Christian. I am joyful to be identified with Christ. I am excited that the label my fellow co-workers were given, is one I am given (Acts 11:26). I am proud to say I love the Church. I love that God created a structure for us to get to know Him more. I love that our Most High God has created an environment to corporately connect to Him.
Although I am in love with the Church now, that does not mean I am naive to the fact that many of my fellow brothers and sisters do not love the Church. The current example of corporate worship in our lives, may give us every reason to turn away from the “Box.” Unfortunately as a result, instead of pressing through, many of us have decided to go through life in personal fellowship with God, apart from the Body.
So this is for you.
The disheartening feelings we are experiencing is not a Church problem, it is a Satan problem! We, me included, have allowed Satan to twist what God has wonderfully made.
We have allowed our idea of Church to be bigger than our idea of God.
We have allowed people to make Church about them instead of about God. (Which sounds a little like the Garden of Eden doesn’t it?)
As I read the New Testament, I now understand this is not a new problem that only our generation is having to deal with. The Early Church had to fight through the same things after the New Covenant was established. People were coming in from everywhere twisting, lying, subverting, stealing, and resembling all things of darkness. They had the same problems we have in our churches; backsliding, slandering, false teachings, selfishness, poor leadership, money hungry people, old people not listening to young Pastors, young people not respecting the wisdom of those wiser than they; the list could continue.
This is not a new problem, so let’s stop acting like it is. I think we have become so focused on how broken the Church is, we have forgotten how to repair it and get it functioning again. I think we are missing the context and point of what these Letters, written by God, are meant to communicate.
Look at how the New Testament authors are writing to these churches. They are ALWAYS trying to reconcile the communities back into the Headship and Body of Christ by reminding them Christ has already reconciled them. These letters are pointing CONSTANTLY to who God is, and who they, the churches, are not. It struck me: if we don’t understand God and our identity in Him, whether the church is a missional community or denominationally minded multimillion dollar building, it really doesn’t matter. If we are not reconciled to Him, it is a waste.
We simply CANNOT FUNCTION in the Body of Christ, without Christ as the Head; and that is what the Church is supposed to be all about. The Church is, quite literally, Christ as the Head, and us responding as the body by following His commandments and commission.
When Christ was asked which command of the Torah was most important, He gave two. And from these we are compelled to go.
29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” (Mark 12:29-30)
Love your neighbor
31 The second is this: “‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:31)
19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in2 the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”– (Matthew 28:19-20)
We may be dissatisfied with our Church and that may be for good reason. However, first we need to check our hearts and see if we are being obedient to Jesus Christ in our own lives. Then if your Church body is broken, evaluate if your church is a living example of the verses above. If it isn’t, are you obedient enough to God to be willing to be a part of fixing the broken parts?
I said earlier I am in love with the Church. Let me clarify: I am not in love with the institution that we have allowed the Church to become. I am in love with what God originally designed it to be. This idealism does not mean my personal Church is perfect. It is far from it. It simply means I want to be a part of the reconciliation of the body to the Head, because I am in love with what God tells me the Church is supposed to be.
So, in the coming weeks, I want to focus on exactly that, healing and reconciling the Church. As a part of THEOLOGY21 let’s take a look at some different rocks in our roads that are keeping us from fellowship with Him and each other!
Each Wednesday, THEOLOGY21 will be discussing the various “rocks” and stumbling blocks that are in the path of Christians. Be sure to check back each week as we rethink how to live out our faith in Christ.
THEOLOGY21 is a co-op of authors dedicated to renovating theology for a new generation, taking the ancient truths of scripture and theology and speaking to the post-Christian culture of the 21st century. To keep up-to-date on all things THEOLOGY21, Give our Facebook page a “like”, follow our twitter page, add yourself to our email list, or subscribe to our feed!