"I know I'm in the right place"
by John Telgren

When I was a teen, my family was introduced to the churches of Christ. My father had been studying off and on for years looking for truth. He had nearly given up when he accidentally ran across an article on the Churches of Christ in an encyclopedia. We were living in Seoul, Korea at the time. He found a small group meeting in the area. We began to attend as a family and a few months later, my Parents were converted to Christ. I was baptized a year after they were.

I can remember our excitement. We had found the right church! We even went out into the neighborhoods trying to win others to the true Church of Christ. We even had a brochure that outlined all the characteristics of the true church, and showed how our church matched all of them. We knew we were in the right place.

I have heard the same words in many of the congregations I have worshiped and worked with. "I know I'm in the right place" is said with the same confidence and security that I had when my father discovered the church.

Jeremiah said,

"Do not trust in deceptive words, saying, 'This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.' For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly practice justice between a man and his neighbor, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, then I will let you dwell in this place,..." (Jer 7:4-7).

It seems that at one time, the Israelites just knew they were worshiping in the "right place". They felt secure, but it was false security.

For us, the focus is not just being "a member" of the true church. The focus is "practicing" what is pleasing to God. Being a member is more than just a verbal or written claim. It has just as much to do with what you do outside the facilities as what you do in them. You cannot be right with God by merely "being" a member if it amounts to no more than claiming membership in the "Church of Christ".

Trusting in things such as having your name on the membership list of the "Church of Christ" and regular attendance are, in the words of Jeremiah, "deceptive words." It means nothing if that membership isn't reflective of your sincere love, devotion and service through the week. You are added to the church by God when you "practice" what is right and continue in it steadfastly. It is only by the grace of God that we can ever hope to "be in the right place" for eternity. It is only by the blood of Christ that we can hope to be with God after we pass from this life. It is only by our acceptance of God's gift of salvation through "faithful obedience" that we can stand before God justified, and thus saved.

Let us trust not in the membership role but rather trust actively in a God who has granted to us everything pertaining to life and Godliness, and practice what is pleasing to Him as part of that trust and faith.