There is a terrible trend that is going on in the Church today. There is a constant battle that seems to be brewing in every direction we look at and it is keeping the Kingdom from being recognized here and now. It is keeping people in a state of bondage because they are not able to let go. They cling to things that are cerebral and of man. There is a constant movement that is causing people to walk with their heads held high with pride and not in submission to the Lord above. This is the battle of us vs. them. This is a battle of pride vs. pride. This is a battle that is knowledge vs. knowledge.
We can see it all around us. There is always a battle brewing that causes us to lose sight of what is truly important. The Church, the real Church that is made of people and not of mortar and stone is being torn apart from the inside by those that speak love with their mouths and then betray her with their actions. The us vs. them can easily be described as Catholic vs. Protestant, Methodist vs. Church of Christ, Emergent vs. Traditional, Home churches vs. Traditional. Everyone falls into a side of that debate. Everyone seems to have an opinion that allows them to lose sight of all that is truly important. We have fallen into the trap of believing that what works for me is right and will work for everyone. We fail to acknowledge and recognize that our own individual experiences make us and shape our views on every topic we are forced to deal with. Worship and following the Lord is no different. When we cling to “our way” we are clinging to pride. We are clinging to self-righteousness and that is damaging to the Kingdom. We must all remember to step back and acknowledge that the Lord using ALL things for good and for those who love Him. We must all remember that when we get wrapped up in our own agendas of making someone see things our way, that we are not seeing things God’s way.
There is no winner in this battle because there is always someone that is smarter than us. There is always one more person that we have to convince that our way is right. The only person that will always win is Jesus. He is always the right answer and the correct choice. His life is an example of devotion and relationship with the Father. He “proved” by His actions and by His love. He did not defeat the Pharisees through words or battles of wits, but by showing them He was who He said He was and ultimately by loving them in spite of their conflicting views. We must learn to live in the same manner. We must embrace our brothers and sisters and grow together so that eventually, slowly the true Church as it should can be revealed. It will only be revealed as our hearts are fixed on Him and we can share that with others. The true Kingdom resides in the heart.
It is because of this that the focus must be on our relationship with Jesus Christ. That is what matters more than any doctrine or religious system that one chooses to follow. If that system draws the person closer to the living Christ then that needs to be encouraged and not discouraged. All systems that exist today fail. It is a sad and simple truth, but they will ALL be destroyed when Christ returns. What matters to Christ is the heart and the desire to have a relationship with Him. If you are truly drawn closer to him through your denomination or your non-denomination than all brothers and sisters need to be able to meet on those grounds. When the focus is Christ, then everything else disappears and nothing else matters. If your heart is open to the Lord, then the Spirit will guide you where you need to be. When you are truly focusing and desiring to grow in the Spirit than all the “stuff” that gets in the way of relationship will be washed away.
Now what I will not support is the idea and concept that formula can replace relationship and that is something that I do think needs to be monitored and moved away from. What does that mean? Far too often, I am seeing concepts replace the living Christ. I am seeing the definition of relationship be equated to 15 minutes in the Word, 30 minutes of quiet time, and 20 minutes of prayer. That is not relationship, that is formula. That is not fulfilling and meaningful, but it is cold and lifeless. Do you define your relationship with your spouse, kids, family in the same terms? A relationship cannot be governed by rules, regulations and expectations. A relatioship cannot grow when there is a feeling of “have to” as opposed to “want to”. If you feel that you “have to” spend 20 minutes reading the Bible in order to be in relationship with the Lord, all of your past reading is not doing you a whole lot of good. You are missing the nature of who Christ is.
Since I hold these views, many see me as someone who is an emergent and that I am against the traditional church. I will admit that the traditional church is not 100% for me for many personal reasons, but that does not mean that I stand against it. What I am is pro-reltaionship with Jesus. The basis of what I believe is that man has touched everything and made it into what he wants it to be. I will defend anyone’s right to worship where they want to as long as they are growing. If you are growing and being drawn closer to the Lord in your church pew on Sunday morning or if you are growing closer to the Lord by getting together and your house with other believers, more power to you. I will meet with any and all of you so that we can focus on the Lord. That is something that we all can share in and the rest of the stuff can be put on the backburner to be argued over later.