Of course the perfect local church doesn’t exist. It’s because all local churches are made up of sinners … me, you, every single one of us. It’s an excellent and ever-present reminder that God doesn’t expect us to be perfect before He can use us to do His work here on earth.
But I am coming to think that the roots of dissatisfaction with one’s own local church – which many of us feel from time to time, and which I sometimes struggle with a lot – come from the very fact that we are created in God’s image. God hates sin. In fact God cannot abide sin at all … that is the whole reason Jesus had to die and be resurrected … to save us from our own sin. And its the reason for the second coming – to actually rid the world of sin. But we live in a world, and in fact in bodies and souls, where sin still exists.
I’m not a theologian. I’m a new Christian and a blogger. I am still learning, and lots of what I think I’m learning isn’t right the first time I think I learn it. But this is just my newly born-again Little Kid self musing on something I may well see differently at some other time.
I think because we are created in God’s image we also are hard-wired to hate sin … as does God … even though sin is still present everywhere in our world and our churches and our own hearts.
And I think maybe it’s this very fact about us that makes us particularly vulnerable to Satan’s ploys. It really goes right back to Adam & Eve. Satan lies to them and tells them that they won’t really die if they eat the forbidden fruit. And they are persuaded because they are thinking of their own concept of death rather than God’s concept of death. So from that perspective it looks to them like the serpent is right. Satan is very crafty.
I sometimes wonder if my heart – my soul – as I’m able to experience it on earth as opposed to in Heaven … is like a tool. Any tool – ANY tool – can be used either for good or for evil. A hammer can build a shelter to protect vulnerable creatures from harsh weather. But it can also be used as a weapon. You can kill somebody with exactly the same hammer that you use to build a homeless shelter.
I start to wonder whether our souls aren’t just like that. We can use our soul to grow closer to God. But we can also allow that same soul to embrace Satan’s ploys.
So when my heart is telling me to look for a “better” church I really – really – need to ask myself who is speaking to my heart. If it’s God, then follow Him wherever He leads. But if it’s Satan I need to push him away.
When I first accepted Jesus into my heart I had a very naive view of what a born-again Christian life would be like. I think I somehow imagined that once I accepted Jesus who died and was resurrected for my sins, I wouldn’t ever need to wrestle with sin anymore. I think in my imagination I thought I would be able to live a sinless life once I committed my heart to following Jesus.
Ha! If ONLY!
Being a disciple of Christ is hard.
I’m only now learning to embrace the ways in which it’s hard as being part of God’s plan for training me for His eternal hereafter.
I also am pretty convinced that when I re-read this a year or two from now I won’t necessarily agree with it anymore.
This post is a snapshot in time – and I’m a blogger, not a theologian.