Duh, right? Maybe not. For some individuals and congregations in the United States, Jesus is an inconvenience. He doesn’t fit in the mold of our politically correct, relative truth society. A lot of people like serving others and so they enjoy being a part of a congregation that serves. But sometimes, there’s no spiritual depth. If we don’t know Jesus, how can we claim to be His Church?
Far too easily, we forget that the same Jesus who said, “Neither do I condemn you,” also said, “Go, and sin no more.” We like the first part…not so much the second. Jesus loves each person where they are, but if we truly allow his Spirit to live within us, we will change. We can’t help it; and that can get us into trouble. Putting aside old, destructive habits can make other people uncomfortable. They may feel judged – even though they haven’t been.
Jesus tells us it is by the love Christians show for one another, that we are identified as his followers. And, typically, we like loving each other. But Jesus also tells us to “love our enemies.” This can feel so very hard, and exhausting because our world often feels so full of enemies. All we hear about on the news and social media is about one group or another speaking and behaving in a hateful manner. Sometimes the accusations are false because people are oh so quick to label others, but the feeling of darkness closing in is very real.
Jesus says, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” How very politically incorrect of him! If Jesus walked the earth in the United States today, I suspect he would be crucified again. Perhaps not physically, but definitely electronically. Jesus is full of BOTH truth and grace. It can be hard to hold both of these together when our tendency is to focus on one or the other.
Speaking of Truth, how can we claim to be followers of Christ if we don’t seek out the truth? It seems the whole world is crazy and doesn’t care one bit about actual truth. People want to believe whatever their school, political party, the news media, or their friends tell them to believe while claiming to be “independent.” We live in a world of relativity. People say, “Your truth is your truth and my truth is my truth,” but that is not the case.
There is moral truth that can be found in Scripture and with the help of the Holy Spirit which can guide us and help us to know Jesus better. In current events, there is a real story about what is actually happening or has actually happened in every situation. Certainly individuals may have different feelings about what is going on, but the facts are still the facts. If we love Jesus, we should care more about the actual truth than about the “take” on the truth that we like. When we jump on the bandwagon of what we’re lead to believe, we end up “bearing false witness” because we’re too lazy to dig deeper into real truth.
So, how can we “Be the Church”? We can love the Lord our God (Jesus) with all of our heart, soul, and mind. Reading and studying the Bible, praying, being open to the Holy Spirit, and obeying God (Jesus says that’s how we show our love for him) help us to move in this direction. Then, with the help of Christ in us, we can love our neighbor well. Without Jesus, there is no Church!