It’s easy for us to take creation for granted. In other words, we get used to existing. It’s good to step back and look at the miracle of our existence and to try and recognize God’s purpose and intent for humanity. As Christ-followers, we are image-bearers for the divine, and yet, at the same time, we are often plunged into the messiness of muddy situations in the church and in our own lives. There is a tension here that can be difficult to hold. We’re called to reflect the glory of God and yet we’re made from dirt. Keeping this tension in mind can be very beneficial to us and the people around us.
One way to hold this tension is to see ourselves and the people we lead as works in progress. Paul describes us as the workmanship of God in Ephesians 2 and then goes on to explain that God is building us up and joining us together and making us holy through the work of the Spirit. These are present tense actions. God created. But God is creative and continues to create through us and through the church.
In an ambitious fellowship, many members may also contribute fuel to the fire of perfectionism. If we don’t have realistic expectations we can end up leading groups that are discouraged by the inevitable hardships that come into our lives and the life of the church. We don’t need to lower our expectations. God can do amazing things! But rather, we must make sure our expectations are placed upon God and not on our leadership, our ideals, or the people. With expectations in the right place, we can rejoice when we feel like the church is reflecting the image of God and we can keep our faith even if it seems like the church is being dragged through the dirt.
Here are some foundational questions:
- God creates on purpose (saw that in the parable of the tenants in the last series). Why does your church exist?
- In what ways is your church divine? (reflecting the image of God)
- In what ways is your church messy? (reflecting the humanity of the people)
As you dive into this topic, what do you want your church to know about the tension between divine and dirt in your life? In what ways are you encouraged by your own relationship with God? In what ways do you need grace for your shortcomings?