I Love My Church 2023

In a world where expressions of love are often reserved for the most personal aspects of our lives, like our affection for pizza or our devotion to family, the phrase "I love my church" might seem a bit out of place. But for followers of Jesus, this declaration is not only normal; it's expected. It's a bold statement that reflects a deep understanding of what the church truly represents – a body of believers united in faith and purpose.

The Biblical Mandate to Love Your Church
The Gospel of John (13:35) tells us, "Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." This isn't a suggestion; it's a directive from Jesus himself. To love your church is to actively participate in God's will. The church is not just a building or an institution; it's a living, breathing manifestation of God's plan on Earth.

In current times, where division and indifference often seem to dominate the headlines, the church stands as a beacon of love and unity. It's easy to forget the importance of loving our church when we're bombarded with messages that encourage us to focus solely on our individual needs and desires. But Jesus' teachings remind us that our love should extend beyond our immediate circles.

Understanding Love in Scripture
The Bible doesn't just define love; it embodies and demonstrates it. From the Hebrew Bible's use of 'ahab to the New Testament's uses of agape, philia, and storge, we see a complex and comprehensive portrayal of love. This love is not just an emotion but an action – a commitment to unselfish behavior and unconditional care.

Jesus didn't just command us to love those who are easy to love; he challenged us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-46, Luke 6:27-35). This radical idea was not just a lofty ideal; it was a practical instruction on how to live out our faith in a diverse and often hostile world.

Paul, in his letters to the early churches, emphasizes the importance of love as the greatest of all virtues (1 Corinthians 13:13). He links love with faith and hope, illustrating that these three elements are inseparable in the life of a believer. Love, according to Paul, is the supreme expression of our faith and the most profound testimony we can give to the world.

So, how do we put this love into action within our church community? It starts with being an active and engaged member. This means not only attending services but also connecting with fellow members, supporting church leadership, and participating in the church's mission and outreach efforts. It's about being generous not just with our finances but with our time and talents.

The Challenge of 1 Corinthians 13
Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 13 remind us that all our achievements and contributions mean nothing without love. Love is patient, kind, and forgiving. It's not self-seeking or easily angered. This kind of love is challenging; it requires us to put others before ourselves and to forgive even when it's hard.

The Ultimate Reward
Loving your church is its own reward. It connects us more deeply to our faith and to each other. It allows us to be part of something greater than ourselves – a community that reflects God's love to the world.

As we reflect on what it means to love our church, let's remember that this love is a divine gift, enabled by the Holy Spirit. It's a love that transcends personal feelings and preferences, seeking the best for others and for the community as a whole. In loving our church, we are participating in God's greater plan, not just for our lives but for the world.

Let us end with a celebration of all that God is doing in and through our church. As we say, "I love my church," we affirm our commitment to this divine calling and our role in the body of Christ.