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Recently, I had a conversation with a friend of mine who is also a practicing Christian. In the course of our visit, she spoke of how she is sometimes challenged by her colleagues for being “narrow minded” because of her belief in Jesus Christ as her Savior, and her trust in the Word of God as the basis for her life. “I never try to win arguments with nonbelievers,” she says. “You can’t argue with those who don’t believe – that only makes enemies. We are called to love one another, and Jesus says people will know we are Christian by our love. A lot of times people come back to me later and ask me about my faith – and they find that I don’t condemn them for not believing. That’s when I can share the Good News.”
The building blocks of a Christian life are the same for all Christ-followers. Just as a research engineer must learn the same physics as every other engineer in order to be free to invent, so our Christian walk of faith will be deeper and more solid when we daily acknowledge the love of Jesus Christ that fills us and surrounds us, we daily study God’s word, and we daily ground ourselves in prayer. Far from making us narrow-minded, praying and studying God’s word frees us, opens our minds, and makes us more useful as God’s instruments in the world.
Each of us has an important mission to accomplish for God’s world, and only we, as uniquely created daughters and sons of God, can fulfill our mission. Our world can experience God’s love through us in a unique way, that only we can share. When we share our personal experience and expression of God’s love, we help to “fill up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.” (Colossians 1: 24). In other words, the world has yet to hear your testimony of how Jesus Christ has changed your life!
Another thing to remember: church is not a waiting room for a job interview, or a final exam. It’s not a club where we gather to congratulate ourselves on meeting membership requirements. It’s more like a hospital emergency room! We are all in need of healing when we walk through that front door. Some of us may show it more than others – but we all need Jesus Christ. Unlike an emergency room, however, we are both the patients in need of healing, and the emergency care team, equipped for service by Jesus Christ.
Or – we could say, the church is our spiritual gymnasium! This is where we gather to give God worship, to exercise our faith, and to receive teaching and power from the Holy Spirit, so that we may go out into the world, equipped with the Truth, to spread the Good News of the Kingdom: sometimes by our words, but more often by our actions.
Does this mean that we will have all the answers? Never. Does it mean that God himself is bound by the laws that he lays down in the Bible? Absolutely not. The Bible is there for our instruction. God can do whatever he wants. As my friend said, “Someday, when I die and meet Jesus Christ, I may find out that we had everything wrong, except for Jesus. But in the end, that’s the only thing that’s important! In the meantime, I pray to be grounded in Christ, and in the Word.”
And, to that, I could only say, “amen, sister!”
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