Did you fit in when you were school-aged? Did you sit at lunch with “those kids”? Were you one of the cool kids? From an early age, we desire to fit in to a group. Man has invented a lot of ways to gather people together, but it does not seem to work well.
After the ten tribes of Israel rebelled against the line of David, Rehoboam gathers together warriors to fight against Israel “that he might bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam” (2 Chronicles 11:1). Many national leaders have used the formula of militaristic might to unite people, but you will notice that the Lord sent a messenger to Rehoboam to let him know this is not God’s way.
Some try to invent a new system. Think of Jeroboam. “He ordained him priests…for the devils, and for the calves which he had made” (2 Chronicles 11:15). Jeroboam designed a religion which was comfortable and convenient, so everyone would get along. However, he only set up his own powerless and purposeless motions. It was empty and left much to be desired.
Others try to hold a double-standard. They want to acknowledge the truth, but at the same time ignore the sin in someone’s life. The church of Pergamos had “them that hold the doctrine of Balaam” and the church of Thyatira “sufferest that woman Jezebel” (Revelation 2:14, 20). By pretending they all agree while there is an obvious error, they are a mockery.
There is only one thing that can bring people together and it is not a thing, but a Person. Jesus Christ “came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11). Jesus is a controversial figure, but it is by him you can officially be a part. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God” (John 1:12). You are part of the family. You are eternally gathered and belong. You are “in,” but notice it wasn’t by military or manipulation or mockery.
The religion of Islam attempts to gather people together through power, but it will never work. The other false religions of this world attempt to gather people together by pandering to “feel-good” ideas without all the sorrow of repentance. There are churches who want to hold on to the truth but pretend away the worldliness in their midst just so they can have a big group.
The only way to be “in” is through Jesus Christ. God said that he “will gather them that are sorrowful” (Zephaniah 3:18). Those that are humble and of a broken and contrite heart, God will never refuse. Because they have “set their hearts to seek the Lord God” (2 Chronicles 11:16).
It’s hard when you look around and others seem to be “in” and you feel “out,” but remember Jesus is the only way and it’s not my idea of Jesus or your idea of Jesus. It’s the revealed reality of Jesus we learn about in the Word of God.