The Same God.

Last month, Silas and I had an amazing opportunity to travel to London (dreams do come true!) Our trip to the U.K. was packed full of architectural wonders and historical masterpieces that filled me with joy, but one of the biggest highlights for me was attending a church service before we departed.

On our last day, Silas found a church called King’s Church. King’s Church seemed to be an awesome multisite church looking to reach the communities of London with the gospel and we were excited to check it out before left. So with our luggage in tow, we set out to make it to their Sunday service on time. We managed to find our location with a couple of minutes to spare (I now have a newfound appreciation for Apple maps since trekking through a foreign country with both of our phones on airplane mode).

After being greeted by friendly and genuine people and seeing a glimpse of some of things this church body had going on, I was pleased to be experiencing a church that had the same goals as mine. Reaching the lost and helping them to grow closer to our Savior. I was so thankful that the people that lived so far from me were being presented with the gospel in action. That alone would easily be more than enough to make the highlight reel of our trip.

However, what struck me the most about this experience, was the diversity I saw while joining this community for an hour and a half. I heard voices with different accents and people of all different skin colors and backgrounds praising the same God. I saw such a variety of people worshiping their God. Worshiping my God. This community was so beautifully diverse and it was such a powerful reminder to me that we, as Christians, all have the same God, no matter what we look like or what country we are from. The same God that loves all of His creation. The same God that invites all peoples to be co-heirs with His firstborn, Jesus Christ. The same God that is worthy of ALL of our praises.

 

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. So if you belong to Christ, you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:26-28

 

Christ transcends ethnic and cultural distinctions. He transcends skillsets and socioeconomic status. He is above all and graciously invites us all into His family.

 

Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Colossians 3:11

 

I am in awe of our Savior that loves every person with the same undeserved and indiscriminate love. It is a beautiful love that transcends all distinctions and barriers. A love that can be seen when peoples of all nations and colors worship the same God together. A love that we can show to one another as one family of God.

Seeing the Good.

In every career and in all stages of life, striving for continual improvement is a good thing. Evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of processes and tasks can lead to completing everything with excellence. This is a good thing and as followers of Christ, we are called to do everything to the best of our ability for the purpose of bringing Him glory (Colossians 3:23-24). Personally, however, I know that this striving can lead to a critical nature overshadowing my ability to see the good in others and I don’t think I’m alone. We are quick to see and point out the negatives and shortcomings of others, but so much slower to point out the good we see in them.

We live in a world forever polluted by sin and we should confront sin with love and truth, but that shouldn’t prevent us from choosing to see the good in people. Even with the tainting of sin, God has created us all in His image and designed us to reflect who He is to the world around us (Genesis 1:26-27). God chooses to see us as His beloved children who He has made “good” through the sacrifice of His Son in spite of our faults that are so much easier to see. He continues to show us our gifts, passions, and potential, instead of only identifying our failures.

I know for me, I want to intentionally seek to see the good in people. I want to love them as they are, as Christ loves us where we are at. When this happens, we are better able to help others. When someone knows that you see beyond their shortcomings, they are far more likely to listen and receive help from their friend. When we don’t let the bad overtake the good, we will be able to truly encourage and help others grow in their faith. We will find joy in being this type of friend.

 

Edward Welch writes in Side by Side, “as you get to know people, you will encounter many hard things, some unattractive things, but if you also see good, you will see people more as God does, and that is a blessing.”

 

So how do we curb the negativity and replace it with a filter of Christ?

Notice character qualities. When someone expresses fruit of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc. (Galatians 5:22-23), point it out and celebrate it. Even when these characteristic reflections of Christ are brief and are displayed in conjunction with sin, they shouldn’t go unnoticed.

Notice gift and talents. Everyone has skills and gifts that God has given to them. The church should be the place that people feel most supported to express these gifts. When someone steps out of their comfort zone to use a gift to serve within the local church, let’s be quick to build up our brother or sister in Christ.

Celebrate spiritual victories. From being faithful to seek prayer to getting excited about scripture, spiritual growth and vitality should be commended. If a friend points out to me a verse that has been on their heart, I want it to bring me genuine joy and cause me to celebrate their reflection of Christ.

 

I desire to be quicker to see others as our loving Savior does. When we strive to see the good in others, our love and affection for people will grow. When we check the critical attitude, people are more likely to let us help with the hard stuff and we will better enjoy the helping.