Monday, September 12, 2016
Pastor Charlotte Gambill from Life Church in the United Kingdom teaches a sermon about God's house, the church. Many of us can sometimes find ourselves spiritually homeless, we are lost and drifting around in life. Sometimes we are lost because we don't know that God even exists but other times we are drifting because we have a consumer attitude towards the church. We come to church with a check list and if the church doesn't live up to all our expectations on it we will move on to another church. We might stay in one church for awhile but when we start to disagree on something with other people within the church we quit and move on. We are looking for a perfect church and we will never find it, just like we will never find a perfect person to marry. God's house, the church, is filled with imperfect broken people seeking God so it's always going to be an imperfect place.
I sometimes hear people say "I'm a Christian but I don't need a church, other Christians annoy me so I don't want to go to church." The problem with us deciding to love God but to avoid his people is that one of God's main commands for us is to love each other. God isn't calling us to love only those who agree with us on everything, who have the same hobbies as us and have the same priorities in life.
It is difficult to love people who are different than us. We are drawn to people who are exactly like us because loving them takes less effort. Loving people who are different than us takes effort, maturity and commitment. We are always tempted to quit a romantic relationship when it gets difficult rather than to stay and figure things out, the same way we can be tempted to quit church every time we disagree with others on something or feel like the church isn't living up to all our personal preferences.
Sometimes God calls us to move, to leave a relationship or a church and go somewhere else, but often he calls us to stay. It is very tempting to quit when life gets uncomfortable. Staying planted in one place can be one of the most difficult things in life but it's also one of the things that will grow us the most. There are some lessons that can not be learned any other way. There are also gifts that God wants to bless us with that he can't send us before we have set our roots down in a church. God knows that without the support, encouragement and wisdom from the church we won't be able to use the gifts well. We were built for community and on our own we can only grow so much. God chose people to be his hands and feet on Earth, we will not flourish in isolation.
God's house is the church and it can become the place where we belong, a place where we learn, get help, advise and wisdom, but if we keep looking for the perfect church we will never find it. God's aim is to transform our hard hearts and to make us more and more like Jesus, this will definitely be an uncomfortable ride at times. Life outside of our comfort zones can be difficult, scary and very inconvenient at times, but those who decide to stay planted will experience a growth that they would not have been able to attain any other way.