Since we've been talking about being committed to a local church, I thought I might close this series of blogs with a few ideas about exactly what that might look like in practice.
It means for one thing you are going to have to spend time with the people in your church.
We need to be careful and make sure that we aren't legalistic and say more than what the Scripture says, but we can say this much for sure, it is really difficult to love anyone very well if you don't spend time with them.
But of course, time is not enough. Being committed to people in your church is much more than just showing up of meetings. Being committed to the people in your church means you are going to work at cultivating affection for them.
Love doesn't mean much if there's no heart in it.
I don't want you to be satisfied with a kind of casual take it or leave it attitude towards other people in your church. These people should mean something to you. I've often heard people say that they don't like the people at their church because they are so different them, i.e older than them, into different activities them. I want to encourage you not to believe the lie that to love people with affection, they need to be just like you. Anybody can love people that are just like them - that have all the same interests and the same type of personality. That's called loving yourself in another person. It doesn't take anything supernatural to do that.
What's supposed to be special about the church is that the affection we have for one another isn't based on personality types or anything like that at all. It is not even based on whether that other person really deserves it or not. The kind of committed, loving relationships we need to cultivate in our churches goes way beyond that.
I want to plead with you to be so committed to your church that you love people even when they are not like you, and what's even harder, when they aren't treating you very well. That means, there are going to be times when you need to just flat out deny yourself. Somebody didn't treat you as well as you think you deserve to be treated, well, you know, as respectfully as I can say it, get over it.
That's the kind of thing you do when you love other people. You either go to them and say, hey, this is an issue I have with you or you get over it. Why? Because part of being committed to the church, part of loving the people at your church is being absolutely one hundred percent committed to them...which doesn't mean of course, that you are always going to agree with them, it doesn't mean you are never going to say some tough things to them, it doesn't mean you are always going to have the same perspective as them, but it does mean that you work hard and pray alot that whatever you do, whatever decisions you make are going to be motivated by a desire for their best.