Friday, June 12, 2009

A Place in God's Family

At one time or another most of us felt out of place inside the Church. We feel out of place because we don’t think we have anything to offer when it comes to the great task Christ gave the Church, the task of making disciples. The talents we have seem insignificant, and the fear that rises in our hearts keep us paralyzed. Another reason we feel out of place in the Church is because we see ourselves as hypocrites. The sin which still seems to control our lives makes us feel like posers. The guilt we feel makes us question if we are even saved and we wonder why we can’t haven’t more together like all the other people at Church. If we depend just on our mood there will be times when we feel out of place in God’s Family.

Why do we feel that way? I want to explore two reasons. The first reasons why we feel out of place in the Church is because we have allowed Satan to lie to us. Jesus told us the truth about Satan:
“For you are the children of your father the Devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murder from the beginning and has always hated the truth. There is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character, for he is a liar and the father of lies‚” (John 8:44; NLT).

Jesus told us that when Satan speaks he tells lies. They might be half-truths, but his intention is to deceive us. Satan will get us to believe that because we don’t have talents that are cherished in the Church today that we don’t have what it takes to do ministry. Satan will remind us of all the sin that has marred our lives, and make us feel guilty of sin that Jesus has already dealt with. If we want to know the truth about ourselves we have to go to the one who will not lie, and then we have to believe those truths.

When God tells us that we have a valuable place in the body (Romans 12:3-8 or 1 Peter 4:10-11) we need to believe that we have something to contribute by discovering ways to minister to others with the talents we do have. When God tells us that our sins are forgiven (1 John 1:9, 2:12; Ephesians 2:1-10) we need to believe that promise by engaging in prayer, praise, and fellowship. The difficulty in trusting God is that we have go against our feelings and act on what God has said, which is hard because our feelings seem more real than God’s truth. Our faith is thus demonstrated by not allowing our feelings to control us and choosing to believe and obey God.

The second reason we feel out of place is godly sorrow. In other words there are times we feel out of place because we are out of place. Instead of following we Jesus we have taken a detour into a life of sin. We allow ourselves to get caught up in the things of this world and forsake the call of God, and we have refused to repent from our lifestyle. The apostle Paul tells us:
For God can use sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from sin and seek salvation. We will never regret that kind of sorrow. But sorrow without repentance is the kind that results in death (2 Corinthians 7:10; NLT).

When we feel sorrow in our hearts for how we have lived God is calling us to examine our lives and and to repent of our sin. God makes us feel uncomfortable in church because He wants us to repent and surrender our entire lives to Him.

There are two reasons why we feel out of place in the Body of Christ, but they are from two very different sources. The lies of Satan will always be accusing and harsh. What Satan wants us to do is to become paralyzed because we believe we don’t have what it takes to make and impact for the Kingdom of Heaven. Instead of seeking a relationship with God, Satan will convince us to hide from Him. As a result we will cut ourselves from the very source of assurance we so desperately need.

When we experience godly sorrow it will be quite different. We will be upset because of what we have done, but there will be a desire to return to God’s presence. The sorrow we have is the result of God revealing to us that we need Him in our lives. Godly sorrow reminds us that life is not found by our own efforts, but is a result of being part of God’s Family. We can make an impact for the Kingdom of Heaven when we respond to the godly sorrow we feel in our hearts and live by faith.

Those times we feel like we don’t belong we need to examine whose voice is whispering in our ear. If it is the voice of Satan we need to tell him to back off and remember the truth God has told us. We are His children, saints, and priests. If it is the voice of the Holy Spirit we need to get own our knees and ask forgiveness. No matter where we have been or what we have done, God wants us to know that we have a place in His Family.

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