Francis Chan ~~ Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
When I first became a believer and trusted Christ for my salvation, I was completely and totally naive. I had not grown up in a family that included church-going as a priority, and so when I was a teen-ager and first heard the Gospel of salvation, I was immediately drawn to the church. At the age of 17 I first understood the Good News of Christ's death on the Cross, and opened my heart to my Savior. That is one reality in my life that cannot be denied, even by all of the learned scholars who declare that there is no God. My life was changed, my heart was changed, and my entire outlook on the world was instantaneously changed in that moment. I know what happened in my life, and it was real on that day and continues to be real to this day.
But the other thing that changed, not perhaps not for the better, was my immature belief that everyone who claimed to be a "Christian" would be exactly like Christ. Silly me . . . . I was only a teen-ager and I guess I thought that becoming a Christian would work like magic, and we would all be changed suddenly to a state of perfection. Well, of course, it didn't take long for me to realize that I was mistaken. Now, I still believe that those of us who profess to be truly changed through the power of the Resurrection will strive throughout our lives here on this earth to submit our wills and our ways to our Heavenly Father. And that we will grow in His grace throughout our earthly walk. But the reality is that not one of us is perfect, or will ever be perfect, this side of our Heavenly Home.
Of course we know that we are "perfect" in God's eyes because He sees us through the Blood of His Son Jesus. But as long as we are on this journey here on earth, we will fail, stumble, fall, and sin. So, to expect to find a "perfect" church is a futile endeavor . . . . for just in case I ever should find that "perfect" church, it would no longer be "perfect" the minute I walked through the door. That is not the goal. And the sooner I let go of that immature expectation, the sooner I will realize that the joy is in the journey, not only the destination, and that everyone around me is traveling through right along with me.
No, finding a "perfect" church is not the goal. But each individual Christian seeking to be obedient to the leading of God's Holy Spirit will result in the community of believers becoming a powerful unit where God can do His work. That is a paradox of Christianity . . . . it is individual, but it is also a corporate experience and expression of God's grace and power. Without the individual experiencing the power, we cannot experience the gift of being a necessary part of the Body of Christ.
We are that, and so much more, but we limit our opportunities to participate in that community when we close our hearts to the Holy Spirit. Earthly perfection is not the goal (because if we could actually do that on our own, we certainly would not need a Savior to cancel the debt of our sins and provide HIS perfection) - but a continual, ongoing open heart to receive the gift of God's Holy Spirit will not only bring the joy and peace that only comes from Him, but it will also lead us to connect with that community of believer's through whom God is truly touching the world. That is definitely something that I want to be a part of, even if we are all a tiny bit imperfect!
Please visit Tami at her blog, The Next Step, and read her post. Then you can find the links to all of the other participants in this week's In Other Words. Leave your link, too, so we can visit you!