As one who was un-churched, but had spiritual inclinations, I sometimes would pause my channel surfing on a Christian station to listen to what was being said about God. But especially did I take interest in the uplifted hands and the faces that displayed serenity and tearful joy. I remember wondering if it all was real. I sure wanted it to be. (And it is.)
But then there were those professed Christians I knew personally, and those I read about or saw in the news that lived as I did or worse. They were hypocrites, and I used their stories as an excuse to keep running from the Lord.
Eventually, though, having learned more about God and about Jesus as His expression; I realized that is where my focus needed to be on Jesus, if I were to take on the name Christian and become His follower. I realized it was ludicrous to let others' behavior stop me from coming to God. He wasn't a hypocrite.
So I became a Christian and a church member. And sure enough, hypocrites abound. I count myself as sometimes falling in and out of that number. But in church is exactly where we hypocrites need to be. For we, like all humanity, are people who are sick with the sin disease. The difference between unbelievers and believers is that the believer is a sinner saved by God's grace through faith.
Know that believers are not a perfect, healthy organism. But also know that in addition to being a school, the church is a hospital in which we seek to become well by adhering to and ingesting the prescribed medicine of the Great Physician, Christ Jesus Himself. It is a lifetime process of healing that can sometimes be painful. That's because there is tension between our physical, natural sinful tendencies (the flesh) and the aspiration to supernaturally live a righteous life in the Spirit.
Imperfect as we may be, though, we know that God's way of life is made up of purity, righteousness, and truth, and we desire those things in our lives. In the church, these things are taught and shared. We encourage and lift each other up as we incrementally grow.
And grow into godly health we must, because God doesn't snap His finger and make us perfect the moment we are converted. Our characters must be challenged. And we learn to strengthen our characters to the degree that we surrender to God's wisdom. Growing our character in Jesus is the most precious thing. For at the return of Jesus, our character is then perfected and is taken to heaven in a glorified, immortal body.
Feeling a thirst in your soul? Pay attention to it and know that it can be quenched by coming to Jesus. He gives living water that springs into eternal life.
Don't let the conduct of anyone stand in your way. Come into the church determined to trust only Jesus. Keep your eyes on Him as your only example.
It's only Jesus that can lead you to God.
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