LOOKING FOR PERFECTION
For the last ten years I’ve been on the search for the perfect church. I’ve been to mega-churches, house-churches, school-churches and slum-churches in America and Africa and Mexico…looking and searching and hoping that one day I’d find the long-lost church of my dreams: the perfect church. The music would be perfect, the chairs would be perfect, the sermon would be perfect, and the people would be perfect. Sure I’d give some wiggle room and of course some things would give…but unless it met my criteria for what I needed it wouldn’t be my church. Sound silly? It’s true. However, I'm choosing to put this quest to death. Because of Jesus, I’m done looking for the perfect church and I hope you join me.
JESUS MAKES THE CHURCH PERFECT
Paul writes in his letters to the early church that it’s Jesus that makes the church perfect, not the church. He tells the struggling Ephesians that Jesus Christ “loved the church”, that He “gave Himself up for her”, that he “sanctifies her”, “cleanses her”, and presents the church to Himself in “splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:26-27). Loved, sanctified, cleansed, holy, without spot or blemish; made perfect in Jesus Christ. This is how Jesus sees His church! Before Jesus, imperfect people would gather in pride and hatred and division and idolatry…worshipping gods made by human hands and rejecting the One True God in rebellious sin. However, because of Jesus, imperfect people can now gather in Christ’s perfection because they’ve been transformed by the saving work and righteousness of Jesus Christ on their behalf. What does this mean for us? It means that we need to stop looking to our church for perfection and start looking to Jesus Christ.
When this happens we’ll find that it’s okay for the church music to be choppy, for the chairs to be scattered, for the sermon to fall apart, and for people to get frustrated with one another. Why? Well, because when I was off, when I was in a mess, when I fell apart, and when I was angry…Jesus loved me, gave Himself up for me, and made me new. This changes everything! I never have to work to be perfect again because Jesus’ perfection covers me. Because of Jesus, our church should be no different.
JESUS IS WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR
Are you looking for the perfect church? Has a bad experience or change of season sent you through the doors of any number of buildings searching and hoping to find something different…something better…something perfect? Stop looking to the church. You’ll never find what you’re looking for there. Look to Jesus. Are you serving in a church? Have the volunteer hours or needs or inside-scoop hardened your heart and turned your once-joy into current-frustration? Don’t look to the church. It won’t save you. Look to Jesus. His love disarms our pride, His work frees our efforts, and He always reminds us in His amazing grace to stop working for perfection. He’s the perfect one we’ve been looking for.