Wednesday, March 31, 2010

on the fringe of fellowship

Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV)
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

When you ask God to work in your heart, you can bet that He will follow through. I think He loves to poke at my peaceful existence and gently nudge me closer to Holiness. Just when I start to feel comfortable, that’s when He reminds me of all I have to learn.

Most recently, I prayed that God would help Josh and I to really connect with our church family. To be an integral part of the church’s ministry mechanism, instead of just lingering on the fringe, darting between the gears.

I think God smiled when I asked that. I was unaware of the impending flood at the time, but looking back I must have sensed that those words did not fall on deaf ears. Instead, they set into motion one revelation after another, something like a domino effect.

I said, God, why do I feel like I’m being neglected? I walk into church and no one even talks to me! Even though I’ve been here for 9 years, I feel like I hardly know anyone anymore.

God asked, Why don’t you talk to them? I sheepishly twiddled my fingers and waited for the words to come, the excuses that would numb the twinge of regret. But all of my words felt dry and useless at the back of my tongue.

With one question, God turned the issue around. I began realizing that the lack of community wasn’t some evil plot against me, but rather it was partly due to my own attitude. Every Sunday, for about 2 months now, God has been gently pointing out people that I need to talk to. I’ve realized that I have been holding grudges, some big and some small, that have been affecting relationships with my Christian family. And slowly, as Christ whispers in my ear, I am seeking restoration.

It’s not easy. In fact, sometimes I balk at what He asks of me. Don’t you remember what that person said? Don’t you remember what they did? But it’s not about their heart. It’s about my heart. And so I go, trudging as faithfully as I can, on a mission of reconciliation. Because community, fellowship, loving just the way Christ does is not a natural occurance. It is one that comes through trial, through testing and through the turning of our hearts.

How is God working in your heart? In the midst of celebrating Christ’s most significant act of love, we have an opportunity to refresh our understanding of His sacrifice, and examine our own hearts as we draw closer to Him.

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