Discipleship Truth: The Bible describes the Church as a radiant bride without wrinkles, blemishes, or flaws. She is stunningly beautiful—adorned for a noble and worthy Husband. Jesus Christ loves the Church the way a groom cherishes his precious bride (Ephesians 5:25-29). Presently, the Lord is purifying and preparing His Church—in anticipation of the great celebration in heaven when Jesus will marry His beloved bride (Matthew 22:1-14, Revelation 19:7-9).
True Story: As a young adult, though I was part of the Church, my skeptical nature constantly poked holes in its “failings.” Instead of seeing the Church’s potential and beauty, I focused on occasional hypocrisy, low-quality production, and human foibles. I felt that the Church had failed me. In reality, I had failed to uphold and honor the Church. After many years of being critical of the body of Christ, God adjusted my attitude and perspective.
I remember falling in love with the Church. While studying the kingdom of God and Jesus’ words to His beloved followers, the Lord began transforming my point-of-view. Then, a sermon on the Great Commission pierced my heart. The pastor explained what it meant for the Church to be the Church. From that moment, instead of pointing fingers I saw myself as a vital participant in the Church’s life. The Church as an “organization” comprised of flow charts and programs, faded into the background. The Church as an “organism”—a tribe of people committed to following Jesus, became prominent and paramount. Our local body of believers was certainly not perfect, but we were committed to becoming and doing everything God had called us to be and do.
My shift from “judgmental spectator” to “proactive participant” brought many new insights. The Church, Jesus’ beloved bride, is God’s “plan A” for reaching the world. My attitudes and actions truly matter to God! When I do not choose to build the Church up, I actually assist in tearing it down.
Action Step: Jesus, the Church’s glorious Head, promises to cherish, honor, and lead Her. He is 100% committed to His bride. The Lord expects the same devotion from each disciple. The Church merits our utmost respect and allegiance. We must purposefully hold Christ’s bride high and display our respect by selflessly serving her.
Think about your devotion to Christ and to His bride. Does your local Church involvement reflect your love for Him? Do your conversations engender honor and respect toward the Church? Together with your child, list ways to cherish Christ’s bride. As you find practical ways to implement those ideas, you will delight Jesus at that grand wedding celebration!
Portions of this article taken from the ABCs of Family Discipleship booklet, available here.