The Church For Others

weekly theme #37 *

week containing the Sunday between July 10-16

The Church is not an organization, building, or event.  The Church is people who are followers of Jesus.  Followers of Jesus are to give love, light, and life to all those around them, both those who are members of the Church and those who are not.  People who need the love of the Church may appear unlovely, so I respond to them as I see them – as pitiful, undeserving, or repulsive.  Perhaps all at the same time.  However, it’s possible for both my response and view to change, usually simultaneously if I want God to change me.  He will enable me to see past their condition to who they really are, the beloved of God.

I have a relationship with Jesus and sharing about it is a service to others.  It isn’t right for me to do the King’s service and not acknowledge him as my King.  The King intends for the Church to be instruments for establishing the Kingdom of God to earth.  Somehow, I must find common ground and yet be noticeably “different” among those not yet in the Church.  Likely, this process will take time, humility, faithfulness, and effort, and God’s Spirit is the only way those qualities can be seen in my life.  The Church is prompt others to give Jesus his rightful glory, and Jesus identified one of the ways.  He prayed, “…that [the Church] may be one, as we are – I in them and you in me, all perfected into one.  Then the world will know that you sent me…”  (John 17:22b-23a)  When I join the Church in unity, it is convincing proof to those not in the Church that Jesus is truly the Son of God.

The world is more interested in seeing sermons that hearing them, but it seems I am caught in a pursuit of Christian knowledge rather than Christian living.  How many sermons must I hear, books read, and Bible studies attend before I am ready to obey the Lord’s two greatest commands and live the Great Commission?  (Matthew 22:37-39, 28:18-20)  The Holy Spirit lives in me and is willing to empower me to live my faith in a way that proclaims and glorifies the LORD – if only I will listen and cooperate.

*A Guide To Prayer by Job and Shawchuck provided the scripture references and readings that inspired these reflections.  I found this devotional to be the most heart changing of any I’ve used.  It truly lives up to its title.

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