Our last Blog focus dealt with the concerns that arise when healthy discussions turn into no-win debates which then can lead to difficult divisions in the body of Christ. As I prayerfully pondered the next step–I began to meditate on what can we do, rather than what we can’t. We each have a choice to choose to develop unity or foster division.
Over the years, raising three children and now helping impact ten grandchildren I have been confronted with sibling disputes of all kinds. As a young mom, I don’t think I always handled it as wisely as I could, but all three of my children are still alive with children of their own! In other words they made it to adulthood without killing each other–at least physically. As they moved into adulthood, they worked hard in reconciling some remaining misunderstandings and hurts. Sibling disputes come with the territory. The same in church. 1 Corinthians 3 Paul points out the various camps that had arisen in the church at Corinth. “I am a follower of Apollos”; “I am a follower of Paul” were two ways the church was dividing itself. Paul’s words clearly pointed out their immaturity in fostering jealousy and quarrels. He sought to change their perspectives. After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. (I Corinthians 3:5 He goes on to declare, For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building. I Corinthians 3: 9.
And so it is with us. We are God’s field. He is planting the types of seeds He wants to grow in and through our lives. It is His choice. Ephesians 4 lays out the differing parts of the body and how they are to function as one. We must grow up. This is a season where we must learn to lay aside our petty differences and begin to appreciate each of our teammates. We have to settle that in our hearts. Every believer we meet, no matter their stand on the end times, styles and timings of baptisms, the place of Mary in worship, or what day of the week we need to meet if they have received Jesus as their Savior is not only our fellow soldier in the warfare against Satan–but our brother and sister. We must learn to discern and honor the body of Christ.
I confess there are some denominations I simply do not understand why they focus on certain things over others that I think are important. I came to realize they are following the Lord and are being obedient to what they feel is important. Just like I don’t like certain foods, so I choose not to go to those type of restaurants without being critical of how they cook their food! Let’s celebrate the differences, or at least celebrate the fact, (hopefully) that you are not under their policies! I believe this Covid pandemic is asking us to grow up. Laying down our childish ways, and taking up our cross daily. As it grows darker, we need every light there is to shine brightly for His glory.
Jesus prayed that we would be one. Let’s join in that prayer. Let’s ask the Father to show us if there are any hindrances in our lives that we can need to change so we can help His prayer be answered. Focus on what you can do, not on what you can’t. We can always grow in the fruits of the Spirit–love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such is no law. I think as we work on cultivating those fruits, we will definitely be moving toward unity. Remember their is power in unity.