This is part one of our ten part series on: What to Do When the Church Lets Your Down. You can read the introduction here.
I once heard that if the rug you are standing on gets pulled out from underneath you, then you were standing on the wrong rug. Throughout the last year, I’ve thought a lot about the rugs I have been standing on – self-sufficiency and approval of man to name a couple. If God is the solid rock on which we stand, the cornerstone of our faith, then when all seems to go wrong, we shouldn’t feel as though everything (our rug) just got pulled completely out from underneath us.
Know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. ~Deuteronomy 4:39
When the church lets you down, it’s important to remember that the church is not the solid rock on which you stand. Your solid rock is God – the one and only true God.
As I walked through the trials of this last year, and as I walk down memory lane with my parents, the thought crossed my mind:
God if this is who you are, if these are the very people who are supposed to love you and they treat others this way, then I don’t want anything to do with it anymore. I’m done with this. I can’t trust a God like this.
Christianity is a vulnerable thing. When you enter into the peace of Christ, you’re admitting all your failures and inabilities. You’re confessing your depravity and ugliness. You say I am nothing, and Christ, You are everything. Every ounce of self-sufficiency is laid at the foot of the Cross and you accept the work of another on your behalf. You give nothing and receive everything.
Confessing faith in Jesus Christ is a humbling, vulnerable experience. Complete faith in something you cannot see but in which you hope. It’s absurd, which is what makes it so utterly beautiful.
Yet the temptation quickly becomes to leave the Cross and the work of Christ at the point of conversion. We replace Christ’s finished work with our own sullied efforts, and we replace Christ as Lord and allow idols to move into His rightful place, one idol of which easily becomes the church. We allow the church to move into the place of God in our lives. So when the church lets you down, you’re tempted to throw the baby out with the bath water. You equate the church’s failures to what you believed was the perfection of God.
I’ve seen many professing Christians walk away from the faith altogether because the church let them down. This tells me they had more faith in the church (sinners saved by grace) than they ever did in Christ. This is not God’s way! I know the temptation to think this way. I yelled at my husband less than six weeks ago that I’m done with Christianity. I don’t even know if I believe in God anymore. By His grace, my faith was restored to its rightful place – in God alone and not in sinful man. The same weak faith that accepted Christ six years ago was all Christ needed to lead me back into the fold (1 Peter 2:25).
So when the church lets you down, take time to go back to the basics – remember Christ, remember the Great I AM, remember the one true God. The church is not your god and it is grace that an idol has been dethroned. Praise God for His grace! We serve a jealous God who allows nothing to stand in His children’s way of worshiping Him in all fullness and truth.
The next time your rug gets pulled out from underneath you, consider the rug on which you were standing. Was it the solid rock or your own sullied idols?
[The Lord] drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. ~Psalm 40:2-3