What I wish I had known about the church

Trillia Newbell » God Marriage Church

In Christ, we are progressively transformed “from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:18). Today, Trillia shares with us her experiences of growing in Christ and what she wish she had known about the church, herself, others, and marriage.

What I wish I’d known about the church

I didn’t grow up in church. I’ve always said that I was a holiday Christian growing up—I only went to church on the days we needed to dress up, namely Easter. So when I was more formally introduced to church in high school, I thought it was nothing more than a religious institution or a building.

What I never knew was the church was people. And “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25). Understanding that the church is not a building, but a people loved by Jesus changes everything. The church is important to me because it is important to God. Jesus gave his life for the church; he loves the church.

What I wish I’d known about myself and other people

After I became a Christian, I thought that I would miraculously be without sin. I knew forgiveness and had experienced incredible grace and freedom from sin that had entangled me for years. I knew that it was only by God’s power and grace that I would change, but as I continued in my walk I began to grow in fear—fear of sinning. I didn’t want to do anything wrong. I feared that I didn’t measure up to those around me because of our differences and would be paralyzed by the fear of man. I didn’t realize that the battle would still wage in my soul. I hadn’t yet understood Paul’s words:So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand” (Rom. 7:21).

Understanding that the church is not a building but a people loved by Jesus changes everything.

As I grew in the knowledge of God’s true and unrelenting grace, however, I began to see just how wretched I was and what a miracle it was that I wasn’t under wrath but grace. I realized that God now looked at me and saw Jesus’ perfect righteousness. It is by grace that you are saved became my song! And I sung it and have been enjoying living in it (imperfectly) ever since.

What I wish I’d known about marriage

As a single woman, I only really got my cues about marriage from the movies. And when I say movies, I mean romantic comedies. So I thought that you fall in love, have passion and romance, get roses every day, for as long as we both shall live. My married friends never shared with me the troubles in their marriages. Marriage is intimate and, for some, the details of what life really looks like is only shared with a few—namely, other married couples.

I simply didn’t know that marriage meant you’d have to work at love as well.

So when I got married, I was shocked when after a few years our passion wasn’t quite as ablaze. We loved each other dearly, but I simply didn’t know that marriage meant you’d have to work at love as well. I thought we’d naturally forever be smitten with each other. C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity put it this way: “[A] notion we get from novels and plays is that ‘falling in love’ is something quite irresistible; something that just happens to one, like measles.” God revealed to me a biblical view of love and marriage based on Scripture: there’s passion, but it’s not because of every moment spent in euphoric love but rather daily pursuit, self-denial, and clinging to the cross.

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