O man, it is Sunday morning and I can't wait to get to church. This is my favorite day of the week as I get to set aside everything else and just concentrate on loving Jesus and loving the Church, his bride. Yes, it is a messy place, but I don't care, because it is family. It is in the context of this family that I have learned to love Jesus even more. I could concentrate on everyone's shortcomings and point out how they don't measure up to my standards but I won't. The reason I won't is a simple one. Jesus told me that if I do that to them it will be done to me in the same manner. So forget that; they are family and sometimes family is messy.
That is why the apostle Paul told us the only way Church works is with a huge application of Jesus' love. We don't build the Church; the Spirit builds the Church with us. There is a difference. It is just like we don't build our lives; the Spirit does through us. Oops. I forgot. That's the problem. Most of us don't live by that truth. Most of us pay lip service to our King and still consider ourselves to be the masters of our own destinies. We are still building our own lives. The problem is, we are not very good at it.
It's like me thinking I can build my own house. I can certainly try but I know now I would not want to live in it. The first strong breeze to come along would knock that thing right on my head. I don't know anything about building a house just like we don't know anything about building our lives. We certainly participate in the building but under the direction of the Master Builder. I can't say it any better than the psalmist:
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. (Psalm 100:3)
Notice how he starts it off? Know, understand, accept that the Lord is God. I can almost hear along with it, "We are not". That is the crucial bit that we leave out of our lives. Jesus is Lord of my life; I am not. He directs me; I don't direct him. It is he who is making me; I am not making myself. He gives me direction according to his will for me, and I follow.
I enjoy the simplicity of this psalm and this statement:
"God is God. He has made our nation, not us. We belong to him."
The Church was formed in the same manner as Israel; by Father's will. He grew Israel from the seed of Abraham. He grew the Church from the seed of the Holy Spirit. Just as Israel belongs to Yahweh, so does the Church. We don't get to define her because she is defined by the Spirit. She belongs to him.
It is no different for us as individuals because we are the Church. Each of us were born into the Kingdom by the Father's will, by his supernatural act of grace. We have not done this for ourselves but he has done it for us. He has made us, not we ourselves. Our lives belong to him, not us. We are his sheep and sheep obey the Shepherd's voice. We do not build our lives; the Shepherd does.
It is in this knowledge of our reality that we are able to enter into Sunday worship with such gusto and thanksgiving:
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. (v. 4)
Be thankful indeed. Rejoice indeed. Enter into his presence, indeed. I am his and he is mine. He is God and I am not. He is building me and I am not. I am his child and I belong to his family. There is no better place I would rather be than right here.