For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:8-10).
No one is a member of the body of Christ, the church, because they deserve to be. None of us grabbed God's attention by our perfection. We are sinners saved by the grace of God and although we are grateful for that we are not flawless.
The church is actually a place for people who are needy, afraid, confused and sinful. Nothing is more contagious to the unchurched than to find a place where they can come and not be judged and intimidated by the false notion that the people all around them think they have it all together. No one can be more unapproachable than a group of Christ followers who have forgotten how they received God's grace. Nothing is more repulsive than a bunch of conceited religious sheep who are constantly biting other sheep.
On the other hand, nothing is more contagious than a flock of humble sinners saved by the grace of God praising God for His love! Christians struggle also and it is refreshing to hear us admit that sometimes we wrestle with being obedient to the will of God in our lives. Sometimes we also make bad choices which effect our walk with the Lord.
As Christians we need to focus on cultivating a contagious attitude so that the unchurched will want what we have regarding our relationship with the Lord. God allowed us to come to Him for salvation even in our imperfect state, while we were still sinners. He is perfect and Holy but He didn't wait for us to clean up our act and then allow us to come to Him. He accepted us just the way we were so we could ask God to forgive us right were we were of our sins. He cleansed us and made us white as snow at that moment. He wiped the slate clean. Our sins were forgiven and buried in the deepest sea.
We must allow others to come searching for Him the same way. We must encourage them to come as they are. We need to destroy any barriers that stand in the way of the unchurched coming to God because they think they don't measure up to our standards or are not good enough. We must guard against sending out the wrong signals to others who don't yet know Christ. And we need to be mindful of the harm criticism regarding other Christians can do to those who may be listening.
A contagious Christ follower, a contagious church , is one where we don't boast about our goodness but we boast about the greatness of God! When Christ followers honestly admit that it isn't their goodness that earned them a place at God's table - it's so refreshing that it's contagious!
Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory (Romans 15:7 NLT). Be grace with skin on.
If you've ever been to an art museum or art exhibit then you know what it's like to marvel at the work of master artists. Some of these works of art are worth millions and others are considered "priceless" because of the rare talent utilized in their composition. Who gets the credit for painting the great work of art? The Master! The one who created the masterpiece gets the credit - whether it was Michelangelo or Rembrandt or Van Gogh or Joe Schmo. You wouldn't walk into a museum and begin to take the credit for the work and dedication and talent of the artist would you? Neither should we try to take credit for the incredible work God is doing in our lives.
When we brag on God's grace instead of bragging on ourselves we give credit to the One to whom it belongs. Then others around us are able to see God's grace and what it can do for them by seeing what it has done for us!
Be contagious in your walk with Christ this week! Allow others to experience God by showing them how much He has transformed your life!
My prayer for 2013 is, God, I want more of YOU in my life...........