Dear church of Christ,
I’ve been part of you for most of my life now. What drew me to you was everything the Bible says about you, and what Christ gave up in order to have you. You see – in a way I don’t fully understand – in some sense Christ gave up His equality with God the Father so that He could be married to you (Phil. 2:6-8). Why? Because your husband, Christ, is so obviously openly in love with you that sometimes, quite frankly, it makes me blush (Eph. 5:25). In this old world full of wickedness and darkness, I was attracted to that beautiful love. I wanted to be a part of that.
Because Christ loves you, I love you. And there are some things I think you should remember because of what your husband was willing to do for you.
Don’t give up. He’s coming back.
2,000 years since we last saw Him in the flesh with our own eyes seems like a long time to us (2 Pet. 3:8), but Christ could come back at any moment (Matt. 24:44). Don’t lose heart (1 Thess. 4:13-18).
He hand-picked you to be His bride long before the “foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4-5). And He picked you – not a different church – for reasons that were very dear to Him. He wrote about all the qualities He loves so much about you in those 27 books of His Last Will & Testament.
Just as a man loves the details about his wife – how she dresses, how she does her hair, how she interacts with others, how she treats her family – Christ cares about the details of His church. You see, He didn’t pick one of those fancy, highfalutin girls. He picked you because of your simplicity. He expects you to worship Him in a certain simple way (cf. John 4:24; Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2). He expects you to love His family in a certain simple way (cf. John 13:35). He expects you to arrange yourself in a certain simple way (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). He expects you to simply be loyal to His wishes, not another man’s (cf. 1 Cor. 1:12-13; John 17:20-21).
What I’m trying to say is, I know it’s been a while since you last saw Him. But don’t give up trying to be what He wants you to be. And the only way you can be what He want is by continuing to mimic everything He says in His New Testament, and only His New Testament. Don’t try to be like all the other girls.
Really, that’s all He wants. Christ loved you even when you were unlovable. He has patiently endured your shortcomings. And even during the times you have been unfaithful to Him, He has begged you to come back (Rev. 2:5, 21, cf. Mal. 3:7; Hosea).
Keep the faith. Remain loyal to Him. Pursue fidelity to the pattern of the New Testament. And don’t settle for anything less, no matter how alluring it may be.
Don’t try to be something you’re not.
To put it bluntly, you look kind of silly when you try. When you try to look like all the other girls, you don’t do it very well. You’re like the boy who ran away from home and drank a few bottles of liquor for the first time; when all the other reprobates in the bar at least know how to handle their drinks, you just look like a stammering fool.
When it comes to “doing what seems right to man” (Prov. 14:12), other churches simply do it better than you. If you try to do things that are not authorized in His New Testament – if your worship becomes about what you want – if you bow to political correctness – if your members stop trying to be holy – if you stop holding on to His Word – at best you are just second-rate.
Even when you try to be like them, other churches will still be bigger, have more entertaining services, offer more programs, be more organized, have more influence, and tickle more ears. When you try to be like the world, you’re not very good at it. And you lose all the reasons for people to stick around.
Hold fast to the New Testament (2 Thess. 2:15). Keep doing what you do best. Continue being what Christ loves so much about you.
Don’t forget how much Christ loves you.
Don’t forget what He gave up for you. He died for you (John 3:16). He made Himself submissive to the Father for you (1 Cor. 15:28).
And if you still love him in return, make sure you show it (John 14:15). If you aren’t remaining true to Him out of love, you aren’t doing it by faith (Gal. 5:6).
Remember this: Christ loves you for you. Not the old you, but the new you. Because you have been baptized in Him (Gal. 2:20), the old you is gone. The new you finds identity in Your Husband (2 Cor. 5:17). Therefore, to be you is to resemble Christ’s wishes for you in His New Testament.
Don’t go back to being your old self. Don’t let your love for Him grow cold. Don’t try to be like all the other girls. Don’t try to be something you’re not.
Because He’s coming back. And you want Him to recognize you.
Your loving brother,
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