September 10, 2023
Dr. Paul Cannings
While I was out of town, my wife called me as I was eating dinner. She asked me what I was eating and I told her a salad. She quickly complimented me and told me how glad she was that I chose to eat a salad. What she did not know, because she did not ask, was that the salad had bacon, cheese, and eggs, and only because I felt guilty after adding all that meat, I only put a small amount of ham. Stop judging. It still had quite a bit of green leaves.
Many believers may attend church wanting to develop a healthy walk with the Lord, but wish to have items included that make church feel good. We want music that fits our style, and the service must work within our time limitations, and the pastor must not preach anything that may offend us. This does not mean that we may not feel uplifted and encouraged, but we are spiritually healthy in the long run. If the church does what we want, Christ exits, and there are no rewards for us when we arrive in heaven (Revelation 3:1-6; 14-22; 1 Corinthians 3:10-15). This is why saving our lives our way means we lose. In surrendering to Christ’s way, we gain life abundantly (Luke 9:24; Philippians 1:21; 3:7-8).
Christ’s passion for the church is to create a loving community (Ephesians 4:16; lots of love for one another in scripture). This community should be committed to spiritual growth (Ephesians 4:11-13), sound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:2-5), evangelism, missions, good deeds (Acts 1:8; Hebrews 10:23-26), and to give to Him so that the church can effectively achieve His purposes with decency and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40).
I cannot tell you the salad did not taste good. Was it the healthiest salad? Obviously not. So, in the long run, is it the taste or what is healthy? Being in a healthy church produces a healthy life, but does not always taste good. The healthy church of Philadelphia was tested, but came out victorious (Revelation 3:7-13). The church of Smyrna did not fail under extreme difficulties and received the“crown of life”,(Revelation 2:8-11). Whereas the church of Corinth was carnal, immoral, and entertained false teachers who called themselves apostles, lacked love, were more into the temporal than the eternal,. The church of Corinth did not give to God faithfully, marriages were corrupt, and spiritual gifts lacked their spiritual intent. Like the salad, things seem good, but an unhealthy environment corrupted the lives in the church. However, the church of Thessalonians was such a model church that it became an example to churches worldwide (1 Thessalonians 1:8-9). So even though this church experienced many afflictions because it was a healthy church, it was a “work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope…..” (1 Thessalonians 1:3-5).
Let us approach the Lord’s church with our Bibles and hearts open. Trust Him. He loves us and He knows what is best.