How often do we think, “It’s us versus them”? Unfortunately, we even separate ourselves from other people in our church thinking that way. How often do we find ourselves thinking, “Oh, you can’t be a Christian if you do something like that”? We build these walls between ourselves and others based on such a large variety of things, and we seem to find new things every day. Political parties, sports teams, pizza toppings, music genres, and so many others.
Jesus prayed for his disciples and for us in John 17:20-23, that we would be united. It may seem crazy to think about being united when we have so many different ideas about how we should worship, what version of the Bible we should read, what songs we sing, etc. Jesus knew the things that would divide us, and He prayed we would remember that if we believe in Him we are all in this together. The secondary things do not matter. Why do we place so much importance on them? Those are not hills to die on.
We are called to love God and love others. When we serve others in love, we are following Christ’s example. When we complain, insult, and argue, we are following the other side. If we choose to find fault in everything others do, we have no way to reach them for Christ. Scolding people does not bring them the Good News. Judging them and telling them they are doing everything wrong is not bringing them the Good News. We are failing in our mission.
If we choose to find something to complain about in the church service every Sunday, is that Christ-like? Is that necessary? If we are sitting next to someone who is raising their hands or praising God in a way we wouldn’t, what is our attitude? Are we missing out on the message or our chance to worship because we’re complaining or sneering in our heads? Satan is playing you like a fiddle if you are falling for focusing on those petty things. I have to admit, I find myself falling into that trap sometimes. But I have to get my thoughts under control or I will miss the things I need to be learning so I can become the person God wants me to be. We go to church to learn how to be more like Christ, SO THAT we spend the rest of the week showing Christ to others. Pastor Chad said on Sunday that when we are distracted by secondary things, we forget to do the things we are called to do. Are you failing in your mission?
We are called to bring the love of Christ to everyone. Love. No one is
required to fix themselves up and become perfect before they can come to Christ. Jesus wants us exactly how we are right now. Then, when we have committed our lives to Him, He is able to help us to change and grow into the people He wants us to be. And we want to be better and more like Him because we understand that He loves us more than we can possibly imagine and He only wants what is best for us. Jesus is the only One Who can bring about change in our lives. We can’t do it on our own, and we definitely cannot do it for other people. And growth in my life is not going to look the same as growth in your life. I have weaknesses in my character that God is helping me work on every day, but they are not the same as yours. If I am growing and seeking God’s will in my life, then that growth should be showing in my life every single day.
Then, when we are growing and loving each other, following Ephesians 4:1-7 and making “every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit,” then we will be unified and be able to clearly show the people around us Christ and how much He loves them.