Some churches market themselves as the "cool, perfect, safe" place to attend. I really don't have an ax to grind with them. That's what they want to do - go for it.
But to "cool, perfect and safe" isn't something I find to be either to be a goal or a possibility in scripture.
Jesus said we would be rejected.John 15:18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you."
Now there are a few out there that think that they are supposed to be hated because of their faith. So they go out of their way to cause it. Not good. Your faith will attract those who are looking for hope in this world.
The Bible says we will never be perfect (without fault)Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,"
Then Jesus says in Matthew 5:48 "You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
The idea of perfection isn't achievable. We know that. But the idea of being complete, finished, lacking nothing is achievable. One writer puts it this way. Think of a machine which cannot work unless all of it's parts are installed and functioning. Once that is done then the machine is complete, or perfect.
The process of this completeness is what the New Testament is about. Through our repentance, the death and resurrection of Jesus solves our sin problem. But the process doesn't stop there. Our new found faith demands a transformation of our lives through the Word of God and by the power of the Holy Spirit.
One might think that this process is one of law and rules. But in fact, it is a rule of love and life. The church is messy because is it rooted in love. Love is perfect, but it's messy too. I could go on here for a long time.
Matthew 24:9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake."
Jesus was crucified.
Stephen was stoned.
Paul was stoned, flogged and beaten repeatedly. Most likely beheaded.
11 or the 12 disciples were martyrs, according to church history.
One of which, Peter, was crucified upsidedown.
These followers of Jesus loved Him so much they would give Him their life.
But this kind of openness, this kind of love is risky. On the other hand, it is the most valuable and rewarding. A love so close that we understand Pro 18:24 "A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."
Which would you rather have? A church full of acquaintances or a church full of close friends? It's up to you.
PRAY: Dear Jesus, help me embrace your will and give up my comfort. AMEN