This week, our devotionals are focusing on what it means to be a God-honoring, pastor-supporting, and believer-edifying parishioner. How can I be a better part of my church? Yesterday we looked at the wrong and right ways to talk about your church. Today we wrap up the series by looking at how we our personal life impacts the church.
The Church is God’s mission to save the world. So you can know that the enemy hates the Church. Satan is going to fight hard against the Church because it is the world’s only hope for making it out of this life alive. We carry the truth of eternal hope. We have power for daily holy living. We have the answers a hurting world seeks. So the Devil hates us. Unfortunately he has found that if he discredits us, people in the world will turn that into disbelief in God.
This is somewhat fair in the sense that we are a reflection of the reality of God. Jesus told us that the world would believe in the Father because of Him, and the world would believe in Him because of us. On the other hand, it is not acceptable to refuse belief in and infinite God because of the flaws of finite humans. The Church should not be full of hypocrites, people who claim one experience with God but live an entirely different lifestyle.
Christians are not perfect people with no problems or room for growth. But they are people who are being perfected. When a person says that they don’t go to church because of hypocrites, they are usually making an excuse. But we as believers should not give them the reason for the excuse. Each of us should examine ourselves to see if we are living up to our claims and Christ’s work. Don't be the excuse someone uses to refrain from church.
Paul wrote something similar to the church at Corinth…
“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless you fail the test. Now we pray to God that you do nothing wrong—not that we may appear to pass the test, but that you may do what is right… We also pray that you become fully mature… Become mature, be encouraged, be of the same mind, be at peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.” (Parts of 2 Corinthians 13:5-11)
Throughout Paul’s writings, he refers to the Church as a building, a bride, and a body. All of these metaphors reflect the idea of relationship and purpose. We are a building that keeps people safe during the storms of life. We are a bride, in perfect union with a groom who loves us and sacrifices everything so we can be whole. We are a body working together to serve and rescue a lost world. Everyone in the Church is not always living in the power of the Spirit, but that doesn’t mean the Church isn’t real, or really God’s movement.
Today, be the kind of Christian that reflects the relationship you claim. Be the church member that shows what God has done for you and in you. What kind of a church would your church be if all of its members were just like you? If there is an area of your life that is unbecoming of a believer, repent of it and move on to maturity.
And remember this promise from Christ about the Church even before the Church existed…
“I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it.” (Matthew 16:18)
[Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted.]
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.