When we were brand new Christians, we were excited about our faith and wanted to go and change the world. This energy is good if we can harness it for His glory, but we learned quickly that we cannot push, shove or pull people into the kingdom. Building relationship with others is the key to success.
In time, we also came to believe that we needed to leave the old way of doing church behind. Traditions were stuffy and so we went to an independent fellowship that did just that. However, we found ourselves in disagreement over what we considered to be bedrock doctrines of the faith as time went on leading to our departure from this fellowship. It was a painful time in our lives.
With time and healing, we returned to church and began attending the Presbyterian Church in our community. I will never forget that first Sunday we worshipped there. Saying the Lord's Prayer, repeating the Apostle's Creed, hearing the organ play, the choir sing and the pastor preach God's Word made me feel like I had come home again. Having been raised in a Presbyterian Church, I was acquainted with the order of worship and found a deep peace through this. The world batters us during the week, and we need a place where we can retreat to worship and grow. I love the green pasture, and the still waters I find in what I once thought was "stuffy, traditional" worship.
One of Paul's admonitions and pleas with believers was to be rooted and grounded in Christ so that we are not misled by false teachers or get caught up in the ideas of the world. In his letter to the Colossians (2:6-8), he writes: "Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ." What wonderful words of truth Paul writes here. It is so easy to follow bunny trails, to try to help God by doing things that are trendy in order to attract numbers, but what we really need is to be rooted and grounded in Christ. We need to be established in the faith. This is what I discovered after we had wandered a bit in the wilderness of "trying all things new". Like the Prodigal Son, I was glad to be home again.
Quite often, we as Christians take for granted the safety of the sheepfold that we belong to and want to change things or accommodate others. This is when we need to be reminded of Paul's words. The most important thing in terms of our faith is to be rooted and grounded in Christ.
Some folks may not care for my old-fashioned hobnail bedspread, but I love it. It keeps me warm when I am cold and cool on hot days. The same is true for the faith once passed on to us. We are to hold fast to it and seek the face of God daily. Let us pray for our churches that they stay in the center of God's will. Selah!