It’s way too easy to find blogs, articles and books on “what’s wrong with the church”. Ways that she has fallen short of what God has called her to do and be, how she has strayed from the path to chase idols and what changes she needs to make if she wants to keep and attract the next generation.
And, you know what? I’ve written several of them myself. Because, as the church, we should always strive to be better with our witness and to be more effective at reaching our neighbors and the nations with the gospel of Jesus Christ. So, it’s easy to point out the faults, inconsistencies and hypocrisies.
However, what about what’s right with the church? Sadly you have to be a highly skilled Sherlock Holmes to find much written on what’s good and right with the church. Thankfully, the Word of God is effective at pointing out clearly what is beautiful about the church.
Let us step back, take a deep breath and be reminded about what’s right with the church.
The church is your forever family. If you have been bought by the blood of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit of God lives inside of you, you are the church. We can all be guilty of mentally removing ourselves from the church universal or the church local, and throw criticisms towards her. We’ve all done it, and we’ll probably do it again. However, you can’t forget. You’re the church. You will always be a part of it, even when you try to run from the local expression of it. It’s still you. It’s your forever family. When God saved you, He saved you into a family. In fact, some people are closer to their spiritual family than they are their physical family. The church is God’s answer to your loneliness. As the church, you get to laugh together and you get to cry together. You get to rejoice together and you get to mourn together. But, the most beautiful word in it all is “together”. Just like with your physical family, you’ll get annoyed, frustrated and angered by your spiritual family. However, we don’t run and abandon them. We press in. Enjoy them. Love them. Serve them. After all, you have to spend forever with them.
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God (Ephesians 2:19).”
Besides the Holy Spirit, there is not a greater force in the world. When the church is unified and mobilized – the gates of Hell cannot prevail against it. When it comes to responding to disasters, sex-slavery, injustice, orphan care and basically any other felt need – the church is the greatest responder of them all. Do we always get it right? No. Are we late to the party sometimes? Yes. However, when the church (fueled by the Holy Spirit) rallies around a cause, nothing can stop her. And, the world takes notice. I got to see this first-hand when the largest flood in U.S. history hit my home state – Texas. The unified church responded quickly and stayed long after the news cameras had left. In fact, they’re still working today – recovering and rebuilding. On September 12, 2017, a Washington Times article was published under the title, Christians Outpace FEMA In Aid To Hurricane Victims.
The church maximizes the effectiveness of your life. Every born-again follower of Jesus has been called to do three major things through the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. Love God. Love people. Make disciples. Have you ever noticed that the majority of our high-calling to be a follower Jesus has more to do with others, than it does us? We are called to love God (someone else), we are called to love people (someone else), and we are called to make disciples (someone else). And, to do this, we are given spiritual gifts through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. These spiritual gifts are to be used to strengthen others in the body of Christ. “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you – that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine (Romans 1:11 – 12).” Ironically, the more you serve, love and pour your life into others, the more joy, hope and peace you tend to have. The church isn’t an organization created to fulfill your preferences, the church is a people created to know the Lord and to serve others. It truly maximizes the effectiveness and legacy of your life.
The church has an awesome husband. We can’t forget that the church is the bride of Christ, and what we have to say about her is taken very seriously by her groom – Jesus. Imagine if folks constantly and continuously had a lot say about what’s wrong with your spouse, how she has lost touch with reality, she is always doing things with the wrong motives, styles and messages; and, if she ever wants to see her young people again – she better make massive changes. Basically, she needs to listen attentively and cater to ones who have left her, or are at least threatening to. If these were the comments constantly made towards and about your spouse, it would probably be a little disheartening and could even cause some righteous anger.
Truthfully, there are many things wrong with us, there are constantly changes we need to make and many times we miss the mark badly. However, there are many things right with us, good in us and the best thing about us is our husband, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He doesn’t need us, but by His grace and love He chooses to use us to do a lot of amazing things for His glory!
Find out more about my new book, 9 Common Lies Christians Believe: And Why God’s Truth is Infinitely Better at shanepruitt.com/9commonlies