“For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.” – Ephesians 5:25-27
Can you remember when you first met your spouse? It probably was not love at first sight, but there was probably a connection; an unspoken, indescribable feeling that this is a person that is supposed to be in your life. Your entire body is telling you, like it’s connected to a magnet, that you have to talk to this person, get to know them, and have them in your life in some sort of capacity. Over time you get that jittery feeling in your belly, your palms sweat and a flutter of electricity runs through your body when you see that special someone. These signs indicate that you may be falling in love. To fall in love with someone is literally the most magical, mystical, and frankly, indescribable feeling in the world.
Did the same thing happen when you started to attend church? Did you feel euphoric, giddy, nervous, exhausted and confused — or, a combination of these emotions? Was it love at first sight or did it develop over time? Over the last five weeks we have been talking the values of our church. I want to ask one question in this devotional: “Do you love your church?”
For some of you, this may seem like a strange question. This may be the first time that you have ever thought about this question in your life. You may have always seen the church as some activity that you do each Sunday morning. You may have always seen the church as a place to be involved. You may have always seen the church as a place, where there are many good activities in which you can participate. But, you may have never considered having a love relationship with the church.
After all you probably don’t love Publix, or Popeye’s or Tom Thumb. You drive up to Tom Thumb, fill up your gas tank and maybe get a cup of coffee. Not all that stirring. Chances are you will not text a friend that “I love Tom Thumb.” Yet, that mirrors the relationship we have with the church. That seems like I am comparing apples and oranges, but am I?
Every week, you come to church and fill up with some good worship experience and a good sermon (hopefully). You enjoy the worship, feel closer to God and better about yourself. You walk out to your car shaking a few hands along the way. To clarify, there is nothing wrong with any of that. But is that loving the church?
Look at the Ephesians passage above, specifically verse 25. What a simple phrase. “Christ loved the church.” If something is precious in the heart of Jesus, it should be precious to us as well.” As believers in Christ, we are called to love the things that Jesus loves. And Christ loved the church.
I guess there are a lot of reasons why people don’t love the church, but there are reasons to love the church.
Over the next few days I will talk about some of the reasons I love the church, including why we talk so much about doing life together.
- How would you define loving the church?
- Does loving the church require courage?
- Is there a difference in loving the church and loving God? Is there a difference between loving the church and loving others?