Natural. Whole. Unrefined. Unprocessed. Pure. Raw. All of these are adjectives similar to “organic.”
When we use the word “organic” most of us think about foods. There are so many unnatural, processed, man-made chemicals that are added to the foods we ingest on a daily basis. My wife even claims she can taste the chemicals in some foods. Given the choice between chemically enhanced, processed, refined foods that our bodies were never meant to digest and all-natural, unprocessed, pure foods; out of concern for our health and well-being I would like to believe that we would choose the latter and not the former.
What happens though is the organic foods are sometimes difficult to find, often cost us more, and require time and effort on our part to prepare. Whereas the processed foods are readily available, quickly and easily prepared (often prepared for us) and are very, very convenient. So we tend to sacrifice what is better for our health to save time and money. We sacrifice what we are meant to have for what is most convenient.
I believe this is true for us when it comes to our relationship with God and His church. We were created to have an intimate relationship with our Creator and fellowship with other believers. This can take on various forms and may not look the same everywhere you go, but I believe that it should be natural, pure, unrefined and raw. This means it can get messy. It can be difficult. Our hands – and our knees – should get dirty. Repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, prayer – alone and with one another – giving to each other as we have need, getting rid of what we don’t need – both physically and spiritually – denying ourselves, gathering in each other’s homes; I believe all of this is what God intended for our relationship with Him and fellowship with one another to look like. Keep in mind that Jesus allowed himself to be murdered to make this relationship and fellowship possible and for those who have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, this is what is supposed to happen naturally when we gather together. But, like organic foods, this organic church fellowship and relationship with Christ is sometimes difficult to find, often costs us more, and requires time and effort on our part to prepare.
So, what’s the opposite of “organic” look like? Clean, neat, easy, comfortable, and convenient. Our faith and relationship with Jesus should cause growth to take place and growth is never, ever comfortable, convenient, or easy. Our relationship with other believers requires forgiveness to take place; to work through problems together; to help encourage growth and to call each other out when we’re wrong. Our faith walk is not limited to an hour and a half service on Sunday. I just don’t believe that Jesus died so we could gather one day a week, hear four songs, some announcements, and a 50 minute message, then leave. These things are okay, but that cannot be all there is to it. That’s something we’ve made. That’s something we’ve created. That’s something we want because it’s cozy, comfortable, and convenient; and we can still call ourselves Christians and still believe we’re going to heaven with little to no regard for the life we have now. Don’t mistake convenience and comfort for being what is best for us. Nothing worth having has come from convenience, but rather sacrifice. The sacrifice our Savior made for us was not comfortable, convenient, or easy. But, He did it anyway. He did it because he was being obedient to what His father knew was best. He knew the sacrifice would be worth the pain. We have to believe He is worth it. We must sacrifice conveniences and sometimes our own desires for our life now, so we can have the life HE wants for us; not just for our life today, but for eternity.