So, I was sat there feeling pretty miserable and then I heard the words:
Do you love the church?
This all happened a long time ago. Life was tough and things were not going well at the church I was leading because of a difference of opinion about what we should be doing.
To me, church isn’t a building. Church is the people who follow Jesus and who meet to worship together.
I was frustrated by church and to be honest I felt hurt by church life.
Now, you would have thought that in that moment that I would have found the question ‘do you love the church?’ difficult, but in that moment God spoke to me and my attitude was changed. It was weird, like something suddenly and miraculously made sense in my head, heart and spirit at the same time.
The speaker had just read from Ephesians 5.25 which reminds us that
Christ loved the church and that he gave his life up for her.
If Jesus loves the church so passionately and deeply then so should we.
The trouble is that church isn’t perfect and so things do sometimes go wrong which may leave us with feelings that are less than loving towards other Christians and church life. This is the point when we need God’s love to overwhelm us.
People’s imperfections cause us stress but it is those same imperfections us that led to Jesus dying in our place.
Jesus demonstrated his love in order to have a people who could know, love and be with him forever. He offers us a place amongst his people, the church, even though he knew we would let him down and fall short at times.
Jesus loves us despite our imperfections and failures.
“Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13.34-35)
May God’s love fill and overwhelm us. May it wash our anger and bitterness away and may that awesome and powerful love overflow out of us to those around us.
It’s the love of God that should set us apart as Jesus’ followers.
Someone questioned what I wrote yesterday in this blog as they thought that I was being critical of the church. That wasn’t my intention, and it is certainly not what was in my heart. As I thought about what they had said I was reminded of the time in my life that I have written about at the beginning of this article and I was reminded of how much I love the church despite it’s imperfections.
I’m imperfect too and I’m grateful for Jesus who loves us with an everlasting love.
I do love the church and if Christ is willing to make sacrifices for his people then I hope that we all will as well.
My prayer is that we would grow towards loving the church as much as Jesus does.
Do you love the Church?
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