I have recently noticed some people will “be” at church, but not “be” the church. There is a definitely a difference. You see, there are those that think “being” at church is all that is required to get into heaven. Unfortunately, for them, God doesn’t take attendance. The only reason he said it was good to “be” with other “believers” is to share life with them. To hear His word and to grow in his image with others who “believe” like you do. To encourage each other. To comfort each other. This is hard to do from your couch.
If you are going to “be” at church then “be” the church. Be the light of the world. Be a true reflection of Jesus Christ. Be honest, be giving, be faithful, be hopeful, be loving, be forgiving, and be true to the word of God.
To Be, or Not to Be? This is not the question.
“I was reared in church. The whole family went every Sunday morning. I heard the stories, I heard the sermons, but I don’t feel I got anything out of it,” said my friend. “Many times I would wonder, if there really was a God would He hear me? As I got older and became aware of family problems I would watch how my father would question his faith, but my mother, hers seemed to strengthen. I found it all so confusing. Then there were the times I would look out the church windows and see my friends having fun. I wanted to have fun, so I quit going.”
“Life has now come and gone. A lot of time has passed, but I never once looked inside the church windows. I felt I was doing life just fine on my own. Just as good as the next guy.”
I spoke to my friend about the difference in going to church, having a “religion” with God to having a “relationship” with God. I explained to him how “religion” is man’s way to God, but a “relationship” is God’s way to man, which is why it works.
I invited him to accept Jesus, and begin a “relationship” and to ask Jesus to forgive him of his sins. He said he wasn’t sure. Then I said these words, “My friend, heaven won’t be the same without you…but hell will.”
Yes, I know they are ducks, and the one I labeled Jesus is in reality a female, but “Work with me people!”
Growing up hearing the story of Judas Iscariot betraying Jesus had always bewildered me. I would often think, how could he do such a thing? A few years ago, while reading in my quiet time, God shined light upon my curious mind and helped me understand.
Basically it came down to this: Judas Iscariot did not get close to Jesus. He was a disciple, he heard the teachings, and saw the miracles just like the other disciples, but there was a difference; he never totally accepted who Jesus was as the Son of God. He never fell in love with Jesus Christ, because he was too far away from him to really get to know him.
Are we the same as Judas Iscariot today? How close do you follow Jesus? His teachings, or are you, and I guilty of only following the ones we like, or are easy? How little would it take for us to betray Jesus, to turn and walk the other way? A winning lottery ticket? A promotion? A really hot person to date, or a trophy wife? (She probably only came in third.)
The one sure way “not” to betray Jesus is to get close to him, and stay there. To know him personally, and deeply. To fall in love with him, want to serve him, and follow him no matter what is thrown in front of us, to tempt us, to betray him. Some of the other disciples went on to die for Jesus, and for the life he showed us how to live. Judas Iscariot died for himself.