Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws. These things are useless and a waste of time. Titus 3:9
As a kid growing up, the church was the center of my family’s life. I can remember helping my mother clean the church every Friday afternoon. As a Seventh-day Adventist, we would go to church every Saturday. We would then go to a church function Saturday night or to the house of a church member to play games and have fun. We always went to Prayer Meeting on Wednesday nights. And it wasn’t unusual to have an out of town speaker come for 6 weeks to preach 5 or 6 nights a week. We would attend every meeting. This was all great except for the attitude that somehow permeated through the church that we were better than other Christians. In time, I began to think the same way.
And then one day in high school, I was invited to a gathering of young people who worshipped Jesus. It was the “Jesus Movement” that swept the country in the ’70s. They read the Bible, gave their testimony of what Jesus had done for and with them in the last few days, sang praises to Jesus, and had a wonderful Spirit-filled time. I talked to the elders in my church only to be warned about the dangers of “sentimentalism.” No matter what I was told, I knew what I witnessed was real. It was real because for the first time I saw kids sold out for Jesus. They loved Jesus with all their hearts.
Since that time, I have come to realize the importance of a heart connection with God. Knowledge is important. What God says in the Bible is important. But without a heart connected to God, without falling in love with Jesus, I only have rules to bash people rather than love to touch people. Perhaps this is why the same Bible we can use to argue fine theological points also tells us to live from the heart, embrace God’s love, and to live in a close relationship with Him. Consider what God says in Isaiah 1:11-12,
“What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?” says the Lord. “I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle. I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to worship me, who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony?”
It’s so easy for us to focus on the wrong thing in our lives. We all get that. We all intuitively know that we need to keep our eyes on Jesus as opposed to money, power, position, or the material trappings of this world. But what about church? Do we focus on the wrong thing even at church? Do we focus on Jesus at church? Or do we spend our time worried about the order of service and what songs are sung? Do we worry more about the church service than we do about Jesus? Are we more concerned with the Bible than with Jesus? What’s so crazy about this is that Jesus describes the church as a gathering of people who will have the Holy Spirit in their midst, love one another, and be His hands and feet to those around them. That’s it!
I don’t know about you, but I want to focus on Jesus this week. I want to be more like Jesus. I want to see people the way Jesus sees people. I want my heart to break for what breaks His. What if that were the only focus of church? What if the only thing the body of Christ cared about was to be like Jesus? What if we were just like Jesus? What questions would we be asking ourselves in church then?