We’re on the move because God mobilizes us whether we’re ready or not.
One of the biggest challenges I’ve noticed as a Christian is the constant ebb and flow of passion for Christ and wisdom in His Word and just straight-up fun in celebrating having been rescued from God’s wrath.
Let me unpack this a bit. We strive for grace, wisdom, and relationship in Jesus Christ as believers. We do this in various spheres from private to more and more corporate to public and evangelistic/culture-shaping. The interesting thing is that we never have a perfect balance of these three: Grace, Wisdom, and Relationship. No one of us does, and no body of believers (local church) does either. There will constantly be an ebb and flow of “accurately lived” Christianity. One hillarious thing about me is that I constantly remember things and consider my opinions in my life as well-balanced. I have way too high an opinion of my ability to balance passion and wisdom and relationship. What I’m finding as I build strong friendships among God’s people is a regular realization that other believers and even several non-believers regularly being involved in my life shapes me and rounds out my rough edges, not to perfect me but rather to help me love others more effectively and enjoyably.
As we mix and mingle among both believers and non-believers, we find ourselves not taking our opinions to the bank quite so quickly, both about theory/reality as well as about people. Our judgments of others become more slowly arrived at and our affections for others less quicly lost. My wife and I really enjoy people, and we’re striving to do so all the more, all kinds of people in all kinds of contexts. One of the most precious contexts for loving others is among those of our local church and other close friends in our area who are also siblings in Christ.
Why all this monologue about flexibility and mixing/mingling with others? This is a huge part of what it takes to mobilize the Body of Christ. The Church of Christ, all believers in Jesus Christ, the “church universal,” the holy catholic (small “c”) church, the Bride of Christ, God’s children, God’s people… We get to together love on one another and love on the lost. We do this best when we practice PATIENCE with one another in our local congregating (local churches), our regional congregating (any occasion to run into each other as believers no matter which local church we belong to), and our international mingling.
What does patience look like? It may not mean being forever a part of the same local church, especially as the church mulitiplies and expands around each region and the world. In some ways, there is a kind of impatience in this multiplication sense that is good. What I mean by patience is that we don’t spend too much of our time assessing how other believers are doing with the finer points of doctrine and pratice. I’ll be careful here because this is an important practice. That said, there is often a lot more fighting over orthodoxy than there is over orthopraxy. What about a little more orthopraxy (how we practice what we believe) and sorting out the orthodoxy as we do what God in Christ told us to do – MULTIPLY, make more disciples of Jesus Christ by simply living out the life of a disciple and sharing the reason for our HOPE.
More on this later. Love you, friends.