as he is, so are we in this world. - 1 John 4:17
A common theme among the letters Paul writes to the early church is that we must be careful about one mistake, and we are still making it today. We are consistently and constantly confusing the world with the Church and confusing the world by the Church.
We hear it all the time that the Church looks more and more like the world, like a big rock concert or social club. Regardless, that is just the surface. The problem lies deeper in that we are also trying to get the world to buck up and do as Christians should do. Even though, we can barely get Christians to it. What is it anyway?
We can count on the Church in most cases to preach the Word , to write devotions, and to sing praise. It's when we try to equalize these things with what is going on in the world today that the world get's confused about who we are.
It cannot be done. We are to be set apart.
The good news of the Gospel is that it is not limited to race, sex, ethnicity, location, or any of those things that seem to separate us in the world. If the world is calling for unity, the church should be the first to unify, tuned to the Holy Spirit.
See, as new creations born of the Holy Spirit we are all together, no matter our differences, one in Christ. It was Christ who created a new race right out of His "wounded side". It is a race that is to be held to a higher standard, one that produces the fruit the world needs. Fruit that satisfies the hunger of the world. We are to be different from the world because we have died with Christ and risen with Him as well.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. -Colossians 3:1
That is the heart and truth
I have been witness many times in my life (too many to count) that where the people of God gather, God is with us. It's His promise to us. When we come together, we get to minister to our Lord, minister to His heart. Christ is alive, out of the drive, forever present to those with faith. He gathers with us when we meet. It wouldn't matter where we meet, actually. In the beginning, the early church met in homes, or secret places to avoid persecution and those things are happening today all over the world. It's not the church building and walls that make the church. It is Christ among us.
Our Savior conquered the grave for us, rose up from it. We are called to rise with Him and rise above.
We are being asked to sit at His table and feast. We are sitting with Christ. We are no longer beggars under the table or outside hungry.
I always think about the time my child was leaving from a restaurant on a field trip and took his half eaten lunch in a "to-go box" with him. As we walked down the street, he handed his food a homeless man, who looked bent over with hunger.
What we left wanting for that man, was that he would one day sit at the table and dine with the Lord.
We are to dine with the Lord, He is not giving us His leftovers. He is giving us everything, every goodness. The enemy would have you believe you are only worthy of leftovers, but our Jesus never believed that. Why would we offer our Lord anything less in return? Our Jesus would never give us His leftovers, so why are we giving Him ours?
Now set your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God... - 1 Chronicles 22:19
It's time to set your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God.
This is what will set the Church apart from the world. We will set our heart and soul apart by putting off the old ways, the bad habits, the meanness, the hatefulness of the world, we will forgive everyone, and move on. That's not would social media or the news would have you do. They want to keep our focus on anything other that Him. We are called to dedicate our time to Him.
So often, we give God the used up, worn out, leftovers of our time. What if Jesus Christ had only given us the leftovers of His time... we would be headed to a never ending darkness, the grave. Let's stop giving Jesus our leftovers of time, money, talents, and give fully to the One who gave us everything.
Set yourself apart. Take your eyes off the world. Stop trying to please the world. Stop trying to get the world's attention and simply start giving Jesus the best that you have to give. Let's not leave the world confused about Whose we are.