Is it just me, or do you also feel like we are in such a time of flux that our foundations are being shaken, almost to the point of being shattered? I’m talking about almost every foundation that civilized life has been built on. Family, church, community, education, economics, politics, all seem to be undergoing — or have undergone without our even noticing — a renovation.
For me it seems to have happened all at once, but I doubt that is the case. It has taken decades, maybe centuries, of work to get to where we are from where we were. Some of it seems like a very natural progression, built on scientific advancement and knowledge expansion on every side. Not all of it, though. Some, I feel sure, has been promoted by those with a world view that differs from many who might read this blog.
But here’s what encourages…
(Track with me if you need encouragement, too?)
In the beginning, the foundation of this earth was created by the word of God. I know that might not be the most accurate way to describe it, but Genesis tells us “God spoke and it was so.” He needed no agreement from earth. The Father spoke; Holy Spirit moved.
The foundation of the church also began with words, even before Jesus went to the cross. Ephesians tell us the church was built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. We see evidence, snippets, of it here and there in the scripture. Throughout the Old Testament we see the picture of the church being strategically painted, by word and by action.
Then, “in the fullness of time” it says, Jesus, God’s only begotten son, was born. He lived a victorious life, referring to Himself as He truly was, “the son of man”. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, He lived and died in obedience to His purpose, following His Father’s lead, doing what He saw His Father doing, saying what He heard His Father say. He did all this to show us the Love and Plan of our Father and pay the price sin required so we could return to sweet fellowship with Him. Resurrected by the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus became the church’s “chief corner stone”, the first building block of this new edifice.
Throughout history, the plan has remained intact, even through great challenge and even tribulation. We can be assured the integrity of the church’s foundation will stand forever, no matter what. It will prevail because the word which created it has been established in Heaven and will not fail. The church will be just fine. Even victorious.
But our part in this wonderful plan and purpose, this blessed family, this glorious victory, remains our choice.
We become part of the “church of the living God” by choice. This week, many of us have on our minds those times at the end of a Billy Graham meeting when he would ask the people, individually, for their decision to receive Christ by faith, receive His forgiveness of their sin, and take their place in the family. And then Billy would wait, eyes closed, hands folded, praying for those who would choose to come forward, making public their choice to answer Jesus’ call.
Decisions and choices. They happen in small and big ways, every day, don’t they? For me, this week brought a decision to re-identify the true foundation of the church, and second, to yield to the Spirit who guides so that I, like Jesus, will authentically represent the heart of the Father, who has never changed His good and loving plan nor His good and loving ways, and never will.
My pastor said, today, that it is the most natural thing in the world for a child of God, a follower of Jesus, to choose His ways. That it actually goes against the nature of Christ who lives within us to do otherwise. But we do, sometimes, don’t we? Maybe often, and for different reasons. Ah, there’s some good news, though! God’s love and mercy and grace don’t leave us when we do.
“He draws closer,” my pastor said. And after decades of walking with Jesus, I know my pastor is right.
“Go [in my name], teach all nations, baptizing them … and teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20)