Sunday, March 18, 2007

Day 21 – Protecting my church

Protecting my church

Wow – First of all I would like to say, I have heard of trying my best to get along with others, but surely not it is my job to protect the unity of the church, apparently it truly is. How is it my Job I ask? I can’t force people to listen to me, or how am I to do this?

I have learnt from previous lessons that it is the desire of God that we should experience oneness, that destroying unit means ripping the heart out of Christ’s body as unity is the essence and the very core of how God intends for us to experience life and to model trinity as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are completely unified as one. I have also been made aware that like every parent our heavenly Father loves watching us get along with each other, and have been shown the significance of it that Jesus even in His final moments prayed for us to get along – John 17 vs. 12 -23, showing us how valuable we the church is to Him and the reason why He paid the highest price for us. Therefore since I am part of God’s family I can now see why it is my responsibility to preserve unity and promote harmony – Eph. 4 vs. 3 - Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace

However this is not an easy task. For me to be able to do this the bible has given me (and us) practical steps:

Step 1: I am told that as a community we need to focus on what we have in common not our differences – Rom. 14 vs. 19let us make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. That is to concentrate on what we as believers share, such as one another, one body, one purpose, one Father, one spirit, one hope, one faith, one baptism and one love [Rom. 12 vs. 12; 12 vs. 4-5; 1 Corinth. 1 vs. 10; 8 vs. 6; 12 vs. 13; Eph. 4 vs. 4; 5 vs. 5; Philip. 2 vs. 2]. We also need to remember that we share the same salvation, same life and future and these are issues we must concentrate on. And to enjoy the value of our differences, since it is the same God we serve that gave it to us, therefore having conflicts in our midst is a sign that we have shifted from God who created our differences to less important things [Rom. 14 vs. 1; 2 Tim. 2 vs. 23] things like personalities, preferences, interpretations of styles or methods 1 Corinth. 1 vs. 10 - I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.

Step 2: I am told that we need to be realistic in our expectations. That we are required to love our church in spite of its imperfections. That longing for the ideal while criticizing the real is evidence of immaturity, however settling for the real without striving for the ideal is complacency. So just because other believers disappoint or let us down is no excuse to stop fellowshipping with them. They are simply family even if they don’t act like it – Eph. 4 vs. 2 - Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Yes many get disillusioned with their church for many reasons but we need to be aware that the church is made up of real sinners including ourselves – so as sinners we hurt each other. And instead of leaving, we need to stay and work it out. And to bear in mind that every other church we go has its own set of weaknesses and problem and disillusionment. Therefore whatever problems we face is good as it destroys our false expectations of perfection and by us complaining of our church community we hinder God from letting our fellowship grow.

Step 3: I am also informed that we must choose to encourage one another rather than criticize [Rom. 14 vs. 13; James 4 vs. 11; Eph. 4 Vs. 29; Matt. 5 vs. 9; James 5 vs. 9], because by criticising we are interfering with God’s business [Rom. 14 vs. 4; Rom. 14 vs. 10], and whenever we judge a believer we loose fellowship with God as it exposes our own pride and insecurity and subsequently sets us up to be judged by God. A criticizing spirit is called a costly vice, which is the devil who is called the accuser of brothers, and whenever we criticize others we are doing his work. Therefore we need to keep in mind that no matter how much we disagree with each other they are not the real enemy – Rom. 14 vs. 19 - Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

Step 4: Refusing to listen to gossip. Listening to a gossip is like accepting stolen goods and is as criminal as committing the crime itself, and by listening to them makes us a trouble maker [Prov. 17 vs. 4; 16 vs. 28; 26 vs. 20; 25 vs. 9; 20 vs. 19; Jude 1 vs. 19] and a devourer [Gal. 5 vs. 15]. The only we can rid of us of such conflict in our church is to confront those who gossip - Prov. 26 vs. 20without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.

Step 5: To preserve unity in my church I am told practicing God’s method for conflict resolution is very significant [Matt. 18 vs. 15 – 17]. During a conflict it is tempting to complain to a third party rather than courageously speak the truth in love to the person that has upset us or we are upset with, but speaking to that third party makes the matter worse. We need to confess to God if we have engaged in such [1 Corinth. 5 vs. 8] and He will take our sin away [1 Sam. 12 vs. 13]. We also need to support our pastors and leaders, and to remember that there are no perfect leaders but only God has given the authority to maintain unity of the church – Heb. 13 vs. 17 - Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you. If they misuse that authority they will give account of it, but we also will give account of how well we followed our leaders. Do you pray for your leaders?

Lessons learned on Day 21 – Today’s lesson was a packed one. I have learned that I need to accept my responsibility to protect and promote the unity of my church. To remember that God will be pleased when I do this. I also need to show preference to others and learn unselfishness, not to seek my own good or what pleases me but the good of others - 1 Corinth. 10 vs. 24. And finally to remember that God will only bless my church when we are unified. 1 Tim. 5 vs. 12 – 13 - Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to.


Jaycee said...

One of the most important lessons from today's reading that applies to the youth of today is 'listening and harboring gossips,' which like u so wonderfully described, can be likened to 'not participating in stealing, but accepting stolen goods.' Loved the analogy, and may God strengthen me to be able to say NO to unnecessary and useless conversations!

Believer said...

I am really learning. Church is not perfect. I am now beginning to see it as a hospital where people in need of healing from different symptoms are. Usually I think what happens is that we are more sympathetic to those who have 'issues' similar to those we face e.g 'you gossip (big sin) but I harbour unforgiveness and pride in my heart (small sin..cos it's not so obvious) so somehow i am better than you.
Thanks for the reminder about praying for our leaders. When you are BUSY PRAYING there really isn't a lot of time to COMPLAIN. Remain blessed.

Dipo Tepede said...

Cool write-up; Ihave really been missing this blessing.

How beautiful it is for brethrens to dwell in unity? It's like the oil that flows from Aaron's hair to his beards to his feet.

No matter your position, hair, leg, feet, beards - the anointing of God shall manifest when you dwell in unity.

Thank you!

Best regards,

Dipo Tepede

Truth said...

God bless you. You keep helping us to know that we are all in this together in the body of Christ, the bible say if we say we have no sin, the truth is not in us. May God help us to be there for one another. Remain blessed

Eagle's Nest!!! said...

Which church do you fellowship at @Stranger?