“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22: 36-40
Last June when my family and I moved to Tyler, Texas we were overwhelmed with the vast amount of churches we could visit and potentially make our home church. There were over 300! We visited several different churches, and eventually found a church family this past January at Rose Heights.
Each church we tried had different programs, beliefs, and LOTS of different types of folks. I was raised Methodist, my husband was non-denominational, our last church was Baptist, and our kids just wanted a place to play and get to know Jesus better.
With so many different denominations to choose from and beliefs to welcome or disregard, every church offered a slightly different philosophy of what being a Christian meant.
I’m gonna put my husband on the spot here. He’s newer to following Jesus than I am and often has questions about why one church does one thing and another does something totally different. All the differences can get confusing. Don’t we all just love Jesus? Isn’t that the point? Yes, it is.
The most important thing is Jesus, the cross, and God’s all-consuming love for us. With Easter afresh in our hearts and minds it’s easier to remember that isn’t it? The rest of the year we can easily get caught up in all the other fluff.
Don’t misunderstand me. It’s very important to understand what you do and don’t believe in: Do you believe in miracles? Do you believe God heals? How do the dinosaurs correlate with the Bible? What are the dead sea scrolls? Is gossip a sin? How do I develop a lifestyle of prayer? Should I sit or stand while I worship? I don’t want to give the church my money, why should I? It’s hard to love church when my family has been hurt by church…how will I ever go back to that?
Questions are great. Write them down, find the answers. Strengthen your faith. All that is great. BUT…we MUST remember the CROSS. Let’s just focus our minds and hearts on that. All the other stuff, while it has its place in developing our faith, is NOT the most important thing. It’s not the base of being a Christian. Being a Christian is about the cross. It’s about walking in LOVE and speaking truth into the lives of others because of Jesus’s love for us spilled out all over that cross. As His blood flowed down the splintered, weathered, unrefined wood and soaked the ground below, your sins were paid for. Every single one of them. His love for you trickled down and seeped into the earth for one reason. So you could know Him. YOU are all He wants. Not some pretty version of you who has all the answers about the Christian faith. He loves you right where you are. He loves you when you drop the F bomb or you’re short with your kids. He bled out for the you NOW. The you who didn’t get any sleep last night because you can’t stop worrying about the sickness flowing through your body. The you who struggles to look at yourself in the mirror because you can’t justify picking up the bottle…again. The you who is just SO SICK of being alone. You. He made you, He loves you. HE proved it. Fall into His grace and mercy. Accept His love.
The answers will come. Obeying gets easier. In the end though, Jesus and the cross is the good stuff. Let’s just let that truth saturate our souls today. Let’s walk on the firm foundation of knowing we are free from condemning, negative thoughts, because of Him. Because of His deep love that was smeared on a scraggy, ugly piece of wood.
Can I get an Amen?? Let me hear it here:
Want to accept His love but aren’t sure where to start? Please Email me, I’d love to walk you through that and answer your questions.