My Fab Fam

My Fab Fam
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Monday, July 29, 2013

Encouragement for the Church

I have recently witnessed a local body of believers in conflict.  I have been on my face for them and I have searched the Scriptures for some wisdom and encouragement in this matter.  Here are some of the lessons I am learning.

(1)  Our sisters and brothers are not our enemies.  Never.  We are all part of one body.  When we fight against each other, it is like cutting off our own arm.  We make mistakes; our sisters and brothers make mistakes; still, we are not enemies.  We are one body.  "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's spirit lives in you?  If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred and you are that temple" (I Corinthians 3).  When we fight against each other, we are damaging our testimony for the love of Christ.  We may think we are only harming those we are fighting or speaking against, but we are damaging our own witness for Christ as well.  We are crippling the entire church, "which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills everything in every way" (Ephesians 1).

(2)  To be effective, we must be humble.  When we live in close community, as the church is called to do, we will have differences.  Can we agree to disagree?  (Am I humble enough to remain silent on issues that are not significant to salvation?)  Sometimes, we will be wronged, and occasionally some of us will even experience great pain inflicted by our own brothers and sisters.  Can we offer some mercy, remembering at what great cost we have been forgiven?  Can we forgive, recognizing that at some point we may have unwittingly caused, or may yet cause, another great pain.  And we will be wrong.  Can we also admit our mistakes?  If we are not willing to admit we are wrong, and perhaps even appear wrong when we are right, or appear weak for not fighting, we will fall.  Those who are proud, He is able to humble.  (See Luke 14:11.)  I'd rather be humble than be humbled.  Oh, Lord, give us humility.

(3)  When there is strife, it is because Satan sees us as a threat!  He knows the power that is Christ's church--that incomparably great power that raised Christ from the dead (Ephesians 1).  He knows that if he can keep us focusing our energies inward, we are not using them outside our walls to win souls for eternity.  He knows we carry weapons that will stop him in his tracks if we would only wield them against him and not each other.  He's worried, so he works to divide.  When a weed of conflict comes up within the church, Satan is at the root.  ALWAYS.  When we disagree with a sister or brother, do we recognize that Satan is working to divide because he knows how strong we are when we unite?  

(4)  When there is strife, God is working unify and strengthen His body.  "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith  develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:2-4).  See the blessings in the trials.  See the men filling the altar to beg for the will of God to be done in His church?  See the women who join hands and bend knees to pray for their Godly men to have discernment and wisdom?  See the ways God is strengthening His army?  Unifying the troops?  Can we remember we all serve the same kingdom?  Can we just fall on our knees together and beg the God of mercy to guide us forward in love?  Can we stand from our prostrate prayers united?  Can we persevere until we have reached maturity?

(5)  God has a different plan for all of us.  It is tempting to believe that if God calls me to push forward in this battle and fight, then He must be calling all my brothers and sisters to the same battle.  However, that may not be the case.  Perhaps, this battle is not theirs and He has another battle for them to join.  I cannot judge a brother or sister if they leave, and I ask they not judge if I stay.  Or vice versa.  

As my heart is pained and I imagine the pain of others, I wonder at the depth of agony in the heart of our compassionate Father when He sees and feels the hurts of his children.  I beg Him to give us a keen awareness of our enemy who prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  May it not be us!  Father, may we seek unity with our sisters and brothers.  May we have a passion for a lost world.  May we work together to win souls and not be distracted by the conflict that Satan creates.  Begin with me, Lord!  And, Father, forgive us when we make a mess.  Thank you for your promise that "You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea" (Micah 7).

As my heart grieves over the wounded church, I take courage in this:  We are a powerhouse!  If we were not, why would Satan be working so hard to stop us?  We are a mighty force in a dark world, sisters!  We must believed it.  Oh, please, LORD, help us channel our energies outside the doors of the church and into a hurting world.  May we stop wounding each other, recognize the energy that is within us, and pour it out to saturate a dry and thirsty land with Living Waters!

Amen and amen.

Satan is certainly at work, but, "Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world" (I John 4:4).  And, "Despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us" (Romans 8:37).

1 comment:

  1. Very wise words, laden with truths from God's word. This is spiritual warfare -- God WILL have the victory...


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