Saw the above post on the Glendermott Presbyterian Church Facebook site and my heart rejoiced. My immediate thought was:
“God must really love this church, they have got it so right”
The church building is being refurbished so the church will now be meeting in the hall for services.
In the Bible the Greek term for ‘church’ is ekklesia – to call out of. We are called ‘out’ of the world to serve God.
We are the church. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.
There are Believers all around the world whose demeanour and behaviour change drastically as soon as they enter the church building grounds.
They go from being in a bad mood, shouting at the children, fighting with a spouse, getting angry at drivers on the road to being pleasant and polite and friendly to everyone as soon as they enter the church building.
Some Believers could win Oscar nominations for their acting abilities on a Sunday morning.
They go from being angry, depressed, sad, anxious… to pretending to be happy, content, and at peace with the world.
I am one of those Believers. I live with a family of similar Believers.
Too many of us are not living as the church of God.
We should daily be growing in the fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Colossians 3:9-10 puts it so succinctly “Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”
For many years I lived with this thought “how is it possible that I have the self-control to pretend for a couple of hours on a Sunday morning that everything is fine with my world, and yet, do not have the same self-control at other times?”
No matter what anyone says or does to me in church I never lose my temper, or show that I am angry, or burst into tears. What I do instead is to keep quiet, think about it and if it is really bothering me I will contact that person when I have thought more about the situation.
I do this because it is out of place for me to lose self-control in the church building.
What hypocrisy and how farcical – I am the church. I should be exercising the same self-control and self-discipline that I do for those few hours on a Sunday morning every moment of my life.
I am the church so I should be reflecting love, peace and joy to the world.
So, over the years (albeit a very slow process at times) I am consciously choosing to live in God, to seek His face, to reflect His love to the world.
One of my favourite authors C.S. Lewis puts into words exactly how I feel.
“Those who put themselves in His hands will become perfect, as He is perfect – perfect in love, wisdom, joy, beauty, health, and immortality. The change will not be completed in this life, for death is an important part of the treatment. How far the change will have gone before death in any particular Christian is uncertain.”
We have to allow God to get into us. The way we do this is through prayer, reading God’s word, meeting in the church building and being the church of God at all times not just on a Sunday morning.
“If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire: if you want to be wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them.” – C.S. Lewis