I love Jesus and I love His church
By now you've discovered that the church you attend may have imperfections. The music is too loud, the sermons are too long or too short. The sanctuary is too hot or too cold, or whatever your said opinion is. There may be aspects in the building that aren’t perfect, but the church is so much more than just a building. She’s the beautiful body of believers, who are united together in Christ by faith. Those who once were sinful and condeemed, are now beloved and redeemed because of Jesus.
I love the church because Jesus loves the church.
Scripture says "Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church" (Ephesians 5:25-27). I love the church because of the value Jesus put on her, that He was willing to shed His blood to redeem us regardless of our imperfections. The church is filled with imperfect people, but that’s why we exist. The fact that all churches are imperfect does not justify a lack of vision or casual leadership. It’s merely a truth that can help us see that making progress and solving problems is core to our work. The church doesn’t ask for perfection. The church doesn’t claim we must get it together before we are accepted. People are not perfect. I’m not and you’re not, but the beauty in each person, in each creation, is and God chose you to be a part. The church isn’t perfect but Christ is. He is the head of the church and we continually cling to Him.
I love the church because it gives me a place to believe and grow in my faith with a family, a community of people on the same journey.
The church is the light of the world. It’s not exclusive, but all inclusive. The church has an enteral mission. Those who become Christians are called out of the world and they join a cause greater than themselves. The early church set the standard for us as Acts 2:42 tells us, "They joined with the other believers and devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, sharing in the breaking of bread and prayer." I have learned more about God, life, what’s right and wrong from the church than I could have anywhere else. The church gives me a place to belong and be a part of a family that is committed to the cause of Christ. Jesus never intended for Christians to be isolated from others. It’s not enough to believe, it’s vital that we belong.
I have been through difficult seasons in life and in the midst of it all, the church came alongside my family and rallied behind us, lifting our arms and championing us on. All those passages to "love one another", "encourage one another" and "bear one another's burdens" are powerful and life changing when you are on the receiving end, but equally as powerful and life changing when you are a blessing to someone else.
The church offers us a place to love and be loved, to serve and be served; a place to celebrate our Savior. It is a place where we can invest the best of our lives and know she will be there for us when we need her to be.
Are we imperfect? Absolutely! Will we one day be perfect? Absolutely, when Jesus comes back for us. In the meantime, let's stay focused on our goal of loving one another and working as a team, pointing people to Jesus and advancing the Kingdom of God. This doesn’t mean that we overlook the problems that exist, we choose to work through them in a loving way. The apostle Paul was more aware of the imperfections within the church than any other, yet he wrote: “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load.” Galations 6:2-5. What is absent from scriptures is the sort of attitude that is prevalent today, that the church is a burden, full of hypocrites, or inconsequential in the life of the Christian. Despite the common narrative, let’s not forget God’s verdict of the church. Christ purchased her with His blood, He loves her , and will one day gather her up as His bride. Let’s make sure that our words are consistent with God’s. If the church is the bride of Christ, we should tread carefully in attacking her. You can’t love Jesus and hate His bride.
I know that the opportunity to be offended will come, but spiritual maturity comes in choosing not to be. It’s our responsibility as mature believers to love one another in such a way that we gain the spiritual strength that can only be developed in unity with other believers. The enemy is doing everything he can to cause division in the bride of Christ, let’s do our part in refusing him that opportunity.
While no church is perfect, there is much to love about her. Let's be intentional in doing our part to love her well.