Come as you are, but don’t leave as you came.
I was driving…well, actually being towed down the road yesterday when I happened across this statement on one of those church signs with the removable letters. You know, the ones that normally say something “inspirational” like:
And so on…
Internet, I have a confession.
There are times, as I drive down the road and see these signs that I enter into a state of nearly uncontrollable rage. The steering wheel begins to shake as my grip tightens and my arms tense. Yes internet that’s right…
I have a terrible case of church sign induced hulk-rage.
While the statements on these signs are totally accurate most of the time, I abhor them. I think that they are completely unnecessary and most of the time idiotic, casting a very unfavorable and overly judgmental light on the church. There was even a message that I saw on one of my local church’s sign that was utterly condemning to people who had not yet found Christ. I wanted to rip the letters from their glass housing and stomp them into plastic oblivion. Obviously, this is something that is outside of the realm of possibility and practicality, nevermind human decency, but I can’t deny that the thought crossed my mind.
As I have stated before, God is in the business of revealing himself whenever we open our eyes enough to see the subtle and not so subtle ways that he works. This was the case for me as I putted passed the sign that stated “Come as you are, but don’t leave as you came.”
My concentration was on maintaining a taut tow-rope, so that I didn’t get a case of whiplash from the truck towing my little Saturn, but my mind wandered elsewhere as the towing process continued and I came to two conclusions about this particular statement. Surprisingly, neither stemmed from my normal sign induced hulk-rage.
First, I think that this message is two-pronged. The first part, “Come as you are”, is directed toward people who have yet to find Christ.
This is the call of Christ to us in the world today. He calls us to come into his love regardless of what we think might be holding us back. God’s love is sufficient and his grace is abundant. So many times, we think that we have to get our lives straightened out before we pursue a relationship with God. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
If you are among the mistaken who believe this, I have access to some inside info in which you might be interested.
He already knows.
He already knows that you are a dirty, soiled creature and he is ok with that. He knows that you aren’t perfect. In fact, that is the point. He wants you to know that you need him and his forgiveness.
Unfortunately, there is a huge stigma against Christianity in the world today due to the outrageous actions of some and the subtle failings of every day Christians. These failings are not unexpected as *gasp* even Christians aren’t perfect. The disconnect occurs when you try to judge our Creator by the created. The two just don’t line up because we are wretched sin-covered creatures. Even if one is fortunate enough to experience God’s grace, he or she is still prone to sin because the desires of the flesh never stop calling and tempting.
The reason for this revolves around the fact that God’s people have been historically disobedient. Starting with the Israelites and persisting into today. The narcissistic truth is that we would rather pursue our personal prideful agenda than seek out what God’s intention is for the lives that he has blessed us with.
The overarching theme for Christ’s love is grace-filled redemption at Christ’s expense. This is why we are to come to him as we are, regardless of our past transgressions.
More tomorrow on what we are to do after we make the initial step of coming to Christ. Tomorrow’s message is for the believer, but all can benefit. Thanks for reading!
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