Recently, I was listening to a talk show on the radio and they were talking about the persecution that Christians are facing all over the world. My heart was breaking for these people as I heard stories of imprisonment and death. As I was listening to them talk about countries where people get arrested for simply carrying a Bible, I began praising God for my freedom to worship Him.
I realize that this is not new news. I realize people have been facing persecution since Bible times. Jesus himself faced ridicule and persecution among His own people.
2 Timothy 3:12 tells us Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
During several conversations about the church, and I don’t mean a particular church but the Church in general, I see such lack of love for one another. Persecution among fellow believers. These are just my observations and well, you can decide for yourself if you see them to be true. These are general statements and obviously there are many amazing believers out there that are men and women after God's own heart. Many blessings they will receive.
So as I was saying, as I was listening to this man on the radio, he was speaking of persecution that he has witnessed of proportions we do not see in this country. I believe that we face persecution from family, co-workers, and friends. Maybe being shunned or looked upon as weird but we are not facing this level of persecution.
My question then is this? Why, as a church do we fuss about things of this world? Things of our desire? Things of the flesh?
We have the opportunity to freely worship a Lord that we claim to love, yet we live and make other believers live in the bondage of our own selfishness and personal desires.
Here are a few examples of what I am talking about. We go to church on Sunday morning, and I believe I am free to say most of us don’t feel threatened in any way going to church, and we look around to others for satisfaction. We get there and we begin to complain about the music, we complain about the attire of the pastor, we complain about who is sitting in our pew, we complain about the coffee not being the right temperature.
We have the opportunity to worship freely but as a church body we are persecuting each other and putting one another in a paralyzed state. We walk in and out of church saying, “Well, I didn’t get much out of that today.”
We have become a consumer driven society and we have brought that into the church and if the product isn’t just right, we move on, we complain, we turn on the people that we are to be building up.
Ephesians 4:14-16 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
We are to grow up in all aspects into Him. We are to work together, we are to serve each other and we are to build up the whole unit in love.
Instead of putting each other down for not singing with the right instruments or not singing the style of music we want, we are to be encouraging each other. We are to be loving each individual part.
Instead of sending our pastor messages about not wearing the right color suit today, we are to be praying for him and building him up in Christ.
Instead of trying to get this or that from our church today, we are to be working together, serving one another for growth of the whole body.
Galatians 5:13 tells us: For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.
Our sinful nature says, “What can this church do to serve my needs today?
How many of us walk into church with the attitude, where can I serve today? Who can I serve today? Who can I show the love of Christ to today?
Whom am I here to worship? Many of us need to check our hearts at the door. Are we there to serve and worship our Lord and to grow and strengthen the body of Christ? Or are we there to serve and worship our own needs and desires?
We are told in Galatians that we are called to live in freedom, but we are persecuting our own brothers and sisters, for what? Our own personal desires and to satisfy our own sinful natures.
We are instructed however, to use our freedom to serve one another in love.
What would the church look like today if believers, brothers and sisters in Christ, were a body that stood by one another, served one another, and loved one another? What would the world see? What would generations of lost souls witness if they saw the church together on bent knee bowing before their King?
Brothers and sisters, let us live in love. Let us be set apart from the world that tells us to get what we can where we can. Let us be more like Jesus everyday with a servants heart.
Do you need a heart check? I would like to encourage you before you go to your next church service to ask God to lead the way and ask Him to give you a heart for worshiping Him so from it may flow His divine love.
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