I mentioned yesterday that I spent the weekend in Wilmington and one of the things that I really enjoy about visiting there is hanging out with a couple of my close friends. I enjoy this time and value these relationships because the conversation inevitably turns to one of spiritual nature. All three of us are from different backgrounds(Charismatic, Baptist, and Jewish), but we all have one crucial thing in common, our Lord and Savior is Jesus Christ!
Our time together always allows us to open up with each other, be honest with each other, and often disagree with each other. But within our disagreement we do it in a respectful and open way as we have captured the essence of looking at the church as a whole instead of our particular camp (tribe).
Our conversation brought up some things that I may blog more specifically on later, but the essence of the conversation was that it is God who draws us, saves us, and gives us the hope that we long for in life. The book of Galatians was brought up as we discussed how so many churches and denominations try to add things to salvation such as be baptized, speak in tongues, dress a certain way, etc. But the reality is that none of those things provide you with salvation. (For more see my post on Gal. 5 from May 17-20)
We discussed how critical the body of Christ is with each other because if someone is not from our particular camp (tribe) then they must be absolutely wrong. The reality that we discovered is that although there is room for disagreement a lot of the criticizing comes from the church having a body image problem, which is exactly what we as individuals often have. Think about how often you look in the mirror and how many of those times you are critical of what you see. The church is the same way and will only continue to look that way as we are not fully restored yet.
Luke 6:42 comes to mind as this verse is often ignored when it comes to the church as a whole, which says: How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
This verse is often forgotten and it needs to not only be heard, but applied in the life of those that truly follow Christ. The reality is that there are things that we all in the church need to work on and many local churches may look different then the one that you are part of, but we must remember that we all have areas that we need God to continually work on and that God can still use us and our church in spite of ourselves.