Let me be clear on this. I still really, really enjoy going to church, serving the church, working for the church, even working overtime for the church. I like the church culture (the culture of our church, anyway), the people who attend our church, and the folks who visit periodically. I like how our church uses the Bible as its primary directional document. I feel safe with other church people. I like how they make me feel, when in a church context and setting. I like our denomination (most of the time), and our efforts in missions and evangelism.
Lately, I have been bothered by the whispers of my soul about my love for the church. Those whispers reveal the truth that I am a church lover.
The truth is, I can be more concerned, place more thought and work in the culture of the church, and enjoy serving the church while almost completely losing connection with Christ, Who gave His life for us and will return one day and claim the Church, His Bride.
As a child, I was saved because of what I understood about Jesus and His loving sacrifices for me. I loved Him, read His word, and learned about Him as I attended church. It wasn’t long, however, that I began to receive more recognition, more pats on the back for good church involvement and attendance than I did for loving and following Christ. I even rode my bike to church in the snow and ice when we couldn’t get the car out. Somehow, without realizing it, I had become a church lover. Somehow, without my knowing, the thin line between loving church and loving God had become muddied. So- I dare say for many of us- it has become easy to allow the vision and administration of church to determine what is right and best for us, rather than staying true to the simple followship of Christ. The followship of Christ guarantees rejection, danger, suffering. I don’t know of many churches who market their ministries using those words.
So, I am re-focusing. Revelation 2:5 (in the Bible) says, “Look how far you have fallen from your first love! Turn back to me again and work as you did at first.”
I am not giving up loving the church… just the order in which I dispense my love and allegiance. Seeking first the kingdom of God… Falling in love with Jesus on a daily basis… Keeping my conversation with Jesus open and active… Serving Jesus through the ministries of the church…
There. That’s better.