But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” John 12:32 (NIV)
Church is good. Church should be where we go to find the Lord. It should be a safe haven where we know we can go and be close to God. It should be something we look forward to where we can recharge our spiritual batteries. We can strengthen our love for the Lord by joining together with others who feel the same love for Him. It should be a place where we can release all the praise that builds up within and overflows there towards God. There we can lift up our hearts, our worship, our prayers, and our voices to glorify His name. It should be a celebration for all that God does for us. It should be a special blessing for the true seeker of Jesus Christ. It should be sacred gift for those who would follow their Saviour even unto the throne and into Presence of God.
When we say church, we will not make distinction as we like to do between denominations. This evil tendency to look down on our brothers in Christ can never glorify God. It certainly does not demonstrate His love in us. Rather we speak of the gathering of people who turn their attention upwards towards the God of Heaven. We speak of people who have set their hope in Jesus Christ Who came to give His Own life as a ransom for ours. We speak of people like us who have heard of the love of God and the Son He sent to us. We speak of people coming together to share their faith in a restored relationship with the Divine.
Jesus says that when He is lifted up, He will draw all men to Him. What does He mean? Is He saying that we should come flocking into the various institutions which have grown up using the name of the Lord? Or could He be saying that instead of growing closer to an ideal or a social crowd, we are entering a relationship with Him? Do we throw out praises to an unseen entity somewhere out there in the heavens? Or should we detect that we are coming to know one another? Can we hear His whispered instruction? Are we aware of how He is shepherding us Heavenward? Do we see the steps as He leads us ever closer to God? Do we know He walks with us? Can we sense His Presence? Is our delight and our strength heightened as we notice we are ever closer and more dependent upon Him being here with us? Is this what we are discovering is happening when we hear Jesus say that He will draw us unto Him?
Could there be instances where we begin to think that we are drawn to Jesus because we go to church? Is the church the goal? Should the church be the focal point? Are the people in the church are our primary concern? Or should it be God? Is it the Son of God Who brings us to the Lord? If the church is providing this closeness to Christ for us, than it is surely a blessing. But if we somehow take our nearness to Christ out of the equation, then the church could be giving us a false sense of security. We need to take great care and evaluate often our closeness to Jesus. The true follower of Jesus will not stand for any painful separation from our Saviour. We will press closer still. We will, like a homing pigeon, find our Way. We will be drawn to Jesus! Any church anywhere should be filled with this kind of Christian. Is it going to be us? Are we drawn to Jesus too?
Dear Jesus, be lifted up! Be lifted up in our lives! You are worthy of our praise! You have paid the price for us to come to God! Now draw all men to You! Draw us to You! Let nothing stand in our way! Let us come now! Let our churches be a special place where we can be with You!