Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Jesus Saves"1 (Lyrics)
As I have said too many times, the church is a pale imitation of what it is supposed to be, and our humanity gets in the way of our Christianity. Again today, I talked to several people who believe in God. I know that they do by the way they behave, by the things that they are involved in, and by their own admission. But they have nothing to do with the church. "Oh, I'm not religious," they say. And what does that mean? Well, they are not into rituals and rules and meetings and bickering over fundraising and the colour of paint.
Jesus wasn't into religion either. He gave us two commands: Love God, and love one another. He lived the life and died the death to show us forgiveness, eternity, and grace. He ripped heaven open to give us a glimpse. Then, the Holy Spirit came in power to give birth to a community that was living proof of His resurrection life.
All my life, I have wished for and worked toward a church that was a Spirit-filled community, the kingdom of God here, at work among us — vibrant, alive, and empowering, loving and caring for each other and welcoming others into their midst to do the same. Of course, we are all part of a fallen humankind, needing redemption and forgiveness and grace. Life is never as uncomplicated as we would like it to be, but coming together in sincerity and simplicity to celebrate and worship God as His people is a vision before me and one worth pursuing.
Acts 2:42-47 – And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And fear [awe] came upon every soul; and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (RSV)
Hebrews 10:23-25 – Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (RSV)
Thought: How can I be the church today in my everyday life? Who can I encourage today?
Prayer: Lord, help us to walk in Your Spirit and step out of the humanity that is so flawed in us, so that we can live together in Your kingdom, to Your honour and for Your glory. Amen.