A Picture of Hope
What does it look like to be the Church in our world today? Well, it looks a lot like following the way of Jesus. Which, by the way, we should probably take a second to talk about in more detail.
A common phrase some Christians use today is: “Christianity isn’t a religion, it’s a relationship.” And while that statement is true for the most part, it has led to some confusion about what it means to be the Church. Why? Because Christianity, while it is about our relationship with God that has been made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus, is not like any other relationship.
The two primary relationships the New Testament compares our relationship with God to are marriage and adoption. Those who put their trust in Jesus are adopted into God’s family, and the Church is often called the Bride of Christ. And those relationships both require serious commitment!
For too many people, their relationship with God is less like marriage or adoption and more like a “friend with benefits.” The kind of relationship where you only really talk to that person when you’re feeling lonely or want something from them. But the relationship God wants with you is sooo much bigger, better, and more beautiful than that.
He doesn’t just want part of you, He wants all of you. And when you commit your life to Him, everything changes. You discover what real love is, and what it really means to live a life of purpose, meaning, and fulfillment. Because you’re actually doing what you were made for—living in relationship and partnering with the God of heaven and earth.
So what does that look like, practically? The Apostle Paul described this way of living as “keeping in step with the Spirit.”
While this idea isn’t complicated, it is very difficult. Because walking by the Spirit means living in a way that runs totally counter to the ways of this world. Walking by the Spirit means dying to our desires and passions so that we can truly live as representatives of Jesus. It means living lives shaped by the cross in our self-centered culture. It means choosing what’s best for others over what feels good to us. And not just for a day or two, but every day for the rest of our lives.
And while that may sound like an impossible task, the good news is that you won’t have to do it alone. The Spirit of God is living in you. If you’re a part of a church community, then the people of God are walking with you. And the same God who sent His Son to die for you and His Spirit to live in you, will give you the grace you need to keep moving forward, one step, and one day, at a time.