Where Does Your Church Fit?

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True story, I had to click the “Forgot your password?” link to log in and post this.  It’s been a while.  There are 4 people that will notice (2 of those are my parents).  That being said, I had something I needed to flesh out, even for myself.  I had nowhere else to turn, so to the empty blog I went!  Below is just a random idea I’m trying to articulate.  It is probably incoherent, but it comes from a burden I have.  Too often, I see Facebook or Twitter or Instagram filled with content from people who claim Christ, but have no desire to be transformed by Him.  Here are my thoughts…

 

A few days ago, I was having lunch with a guy who’s mentored me over the past year or so and something came up in conversation that struck a cord with me.  It wasn’t a quote, or even a topic of conversation, but an idea.  A fraction of a sentence.  The thought floated out there and gripped and convicted me.  He mentioned, just in passing, the idea that some churches hold their members to a certain standard, and others have no expectations on them.

I started to wonder, does my church, does my ministry, does my community hold me to certain expectations, or are they content with me claiming the name of Christ alone?  Hear me say this, I’m not negating the gospel or the total depravity of people.  There’s no “standard” we could attain.  

I am saying that I think as a church (whether from a corporate level or an organic/community level) shouldn’t be content to have people claim Jesus and not be concerned with how their living their lives.  Take a look at 2 Corinthians 3:18!  Or check out Colossians 3:1-17 below (ESV., emphasis added):

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

 

I think too often, Christians take Colossians 3:14 and twist it into a perverted version of tolerance where we tell each other, “I’m a believer, you’re a believer, but who are you to call out how I live my life?  If I want to embrace a certain path/decision/lifestyle/behavior, God loves me no matter what!  He loves me and he’s okay with it, so you should be too!”  Hopefully, you notice the breakdown in logic.  We assume that because God loves us (and he does), that he is content in leaving us where we are.

God is not content to leave you where you are.  A father who sees his son covered in his own poop would not say to his son, “Son…I love you.  And you know what, that looks like it’s pleasing to you, you like that poop don’t you?  Cool, you can just chill with the poop all over.  Good deal bud.”  No, a loving father cleans the child and says, “I love you, no matter how much poop is in your ear canal.  I love you, but I’m not content to let you wallow in your filth.  I love you, and you may not like not playing in your poop, but trust me.”  

So all of that to say, would you say that your church or your community of believers is content to let you stay there?  The sin in me wants a community who won’t call me out, have the hard conversations, and hold me accountable in my life.  But I know for me to continue to be made into the image of Christ, I need those people who will spur me on and challenge me in my faith.  May we never lead churches that are content to leave people in their filth.  May our churches be those that embrace people no matter where they are, but disciple them and walk with them as they too walk through life with Christ, allowing him to remove the poop.  

If you would say your church or community would fit more on the side of the “Let you have fun in your poop” spectrum, my encouragement is not to go find new community or a new church.  Instead, what can you do to be used by God as a change agent in your community.  Are you part of the problem?

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1 Comment

  1. Dude, this is a great post, convicting thought for sure. I’d have to say I have definitely seen it be that pastors/youth pastors dont call out people or approach them on issues so we dont have to deal with the consequences. We do all have faults and I think a lot of times, churches dont have these sort of standards because I think we tremble in the cowardice of “If I say this to them, what will they say about me, back?” And thats not to say were all cowards, but for me thats just my own personal opinion. Finding that space to be able to hold members to a certain standard needs the balance of not becoming legalistic.

    But seriously, great post.

    Reply

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