Lately, my focus has drifted to how Christianity has come to be known as a religion. Furthermore, how did we become defined by ourselves and the world by the tasks we do (or don’t do). If you stopped someone on the street and simply asked them “What is a Christian?” what do you think they would say? If you asked a hundred individuals this same question, do you think the majority would rattle off a list of things that Christians (should) do? Or is is something that is simple?
Isn’t a Christian a follower of Christ?
Yet in the western culture (probably not exclusively, but I would hate to lump the whole world into something that I can only speak of for certain in the culture in which I live) we have all of these preferences and requirements within our church walls. We are afraid of tainting the integrity of our church culture so much that we have actually tainted our reputation of love. The intent of this trend was—I believe—humble and beautiful to start. But the Enemy in his cunning ways, has partnered with the church in the name of keeping pure. He has polluted the Church into genocide mentality of keeping out those who can’t live up to the standards of the ideal Christian. People are being cast aside for their dirty sins because somewhere along the line come as you are lost its importance.
Although this seems like I am hating on the Church, I am not. I LOVE church. I am a lifer. I was raised in church and for all its warts and scars, I find it to be one of my favorite places to be. But I am pursuing it with eyes wide open. No church is perfect. As long as people are leading people, it will be done with flaws included.
The coolest thing to me is that Jesus chooses to use broken people to lead broken people. I think it is to show off His glory, but I could be totally wrong. I mean if we succeed in life change at all, and we see people choose eternity with God through anything we do. Well if that doesn’t declare miracle at work I don’t know what does! And by our efforts I mean our actions coupled with God. Our efforts—in my mind—actually taint God’s perfect ways, yet He lets us be involved anyway.
This makes me think of when I let my kids cook with me. I can execute a recipe without their help at all. As a matter of fact, it will turn out better if I do not have to involve them in the preparation at all. But when I let them help, I risk mistakes and things not turning out the way they were supposed to. But the joy of letting them help and be involved in the process multiplies the joy of the whole project. See, we are God’s kids and he wants to let us help. Not because he needs our help, but He enjoys joining forces and doing it with us. The memories created and the intimate moments of coming alongside each other are priceless. They are the heart of God. Intimacy, co-creating, being WITH Him. He craves our relationship.
Which brings me back to the start. If you are following a religion, where is the fun in that? What is the purpose? I am a Christian because I fell in love with Jesus and have been eagerly trying to live a life that pleases Him. As I dive into scripture recalling the life of Jesus, love seemed to be the highest thing on His list of things to focus on. He even set love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength as the most important command. One of the key parts of loving God is allowing Him to love you. Opening your heart to His love will be the most life changing thing you ever do. I promise!
As the Church, we have work to do. But Jesus is patient and kind and cheering on our progress.