I don’t know that any society has had more options available to them over the course of human history than we do in the U.S. in 2017. As I scan my home office where I’m writing this, I see a door knob (attached to a door), a backpack, my phone, the computer I’m writing on and a chair I’m sitting in. Ever been to your local home improvement store and scanned the aisle of door knobs? Options, options, options! How about backpacks - or something to carry your books and computer in? How many of those are there to choose from? Phones? Computers? Chairs? Options, options, options. Just pick the one that pleases you most!
Now we come to choosing a church. How will you go about doing that? The same way you did in choosing the fixtures for your kitchen? And, of course, if your kitchen fixtures ever let you down, you just replace them with something you perceive to be better, right? Is that the approach we take with our churches? If yours ever lets you down, just replace it with something you perceive to be better.
May I say, I’m not down with this approach.
The church is called the ‘bride of Christ' (Rev. 19; cf. Eph. 5) It’s not a kitchen fixture! My bride is not someone I replace when she lets me down (and vice versa!). A bride is someone worth committing to through good times and bad; through upheavals and disappointments. Whoever the bride is, possesses unique dignity that’s worth treating with sacredness. No fixture retains that kind of sanctity.
Here’s a quick thought-experiment: What if your gospel-preaching church was the only one around for four hundred miles? If your church did something you didn’t like (aside from abandoning the gospel altogether), what would you do? Quit going to church? Or commit to it and work it out?
I know readers of this blog attend various churches. Here’s my exhortation to you: don’t consume churches. Pick one and commit to it regardless of the discomfort you may experience there from time to time.
God encouraged risk-taking. When you stop to think about what God was asking Abraham to do in Genesis 12, it really is unreasonable - according to conventional wisdom. God tells Abraham to leave home. Home represents everything that is familiar and comfortable. God says, "leave it behind." That would be hard enough, but it gets even worse...or better depending on how you read this.
In addition to asking Abraham to leave home, God says nothing about Abraham's destination. We're used to being able to peruse the pictures of the hotel we're staying at. Abraham had no such luxury. God is asking Abraham to live on the edge.
Here's where this story becomes inspiring. Abraham lived a huge life; a big life; an influential life. And none of it was comfortable. Jesus lived an even bigger and more influential life and none of it was comfortable. Suddenly a theme develops.
Perhaps, especially within American evangelicalism, we have grown too comfortable. Vitality isn't found in the comfortable. Vitality is found in living life on the edge. Maybe we Christians need to stretch ourselves a bit and embrace the uncomfortable for the sake of following Jesus.
As we continue our journey through the Bible at Alliance Bible Church, we pause to consider where we have been with a review of Genesis Chapters 1-11 (explained with illustrations).