Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Imperfect Church....Still Important

My friend Daja had a wonderful post reflecting on why we should go to church even though people are imperfect and disagree at times. I just thought it very refreshing.
I have been guilty of the very thing she speaks. There was a time in my life when I was happy to be saved but not happy about Christians at all. I had put people on pedestal that I should only have put Christ on and they all fell off with a bang. Sometimes I think we set ourselves up for these disappointments because we don't remember that only Christ is perfect. Since we all fail at reflecting him purely, we have to give each other room to mess up and we need to be filled with grace to forgive.
I apply this to the blog world as well. My heart has been heavy this week with some burdens only met for the Lord but I want to speak of the verse on my heart. " When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,But he who restrains his lips is wise." Prov. 10:19. It is a hard balance to find between people seeking truth, spurring one another on, lovingly speaking truth, being compassionate of feelings, carrying one anothers burdens, accepting correction, giving correction, interpreting scripture, forgiving faults, keeping unity.....the list goes on and on. Let's face it, the brotherhood and sisterhood are a minefield of potential explosive reactions. What keeps it working in a Christ like way then? How do we so fallen come together, only increasing our fallen-ness and reflect Christ even more? I have been pondering this this week. The answer is clear....the love of Christ. "Love covers a multitude of sins". I need mine covered, I need to cover my brothers and sisters." This does not come easy for me. I seem to have way too much of my mid-west blood in me that would rather stand on my porch and ban you from my property if you don't' recon my thoughts are better than your thoughts! There is a delicate balance between the flow of many words, and the slippery slope of selfishness.
Conviction has been heavy upon me that my conduct in expressing thoughts (which comes naturally to me) is my greatest weakness, and strength. Only Christ can make it strength. So, I have to be ever taking captive, every accountable to him for what I say and write. That is where the harmony comes and it is the harmony of heaven. The ability to all be seeking after God, without sin. We don't get that here, we are fallen. Yet, with the work of Christ we can take thoughts captive but it is a work of the Holy Spirit that requires grace for all. If grace would flow from me in some minute measure close to that of my Savior for me, it would rock my whole interaction with my brothers and sisters. Yet, I can possess the best intentions, try to say just the right thing, desire fully the truth of God in all things, long to be gentle and loving in word and deed, and STILL not achieve the harmony I long for in the body of Christ. That void can only be filled with grace...and I must start the giving on all accounts, fully and without reserve. Grace, grace, grace. Because the bottom line is, I don't need to be worried or threatened by disagreement or misunderstanding, my hypocrisy or others, these should all be expected and should not surprise me nor effect the way I treat my fellow believers. The bottom line in all these things is to seek what God is trying to teach me through them. Then, my love and joy can abound to those around me perfect or im.. because it's not about me, it's not about them.... it's about Christ. His finished work resulting in grace, and his future plan to work His glory in all who believe.... despite the mud on all our faces. One of my most precious thoughts is of a woman who led bible study for us for a long while. She said at the beginning... "Please, whatever you do, do not put me on a pedestal because I will eventually fall off!" I never felt more free to share and be real in a study before. Freedom to be a human covered by the blood! To talk it out, and work it out, and still hug my sisters as I walk away! That is the precious work of Christ! He is then on the pedestal, always.
Well, I did mean to write so much because I really hope you can read Daja's post. I do want to end with her quote from Rich Mullins:
I hear people say, "Why do you want to go to church? They are all just hypocrites." I never understood why going to church made you a hypocrite because nobody goes to church because they're perfect. If you've got it all together, you don't need to go. You can go jogging with all the other perfect people on Sunday morning. Every time you go to church, you're confessing again to yourself, to your family, to the people pass on the way there, to the people who will greet you there, that you don't have it all together, and that you need their support. You need their direction. You need some accountability, you need some help.

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