"This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won't be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth."
We are not there yet. No, the church is confused. Many are following deceptive teachings that contradict the Word of God. We are searching for God in places where He doesn't dwell. This happens when we don't diligently study the Word. Many are being tossed and blown around. What can we do, as a community, as a family, as individuals to help the church of Christ achieve this unity Paul wrote about?
It starts at home. We ought to be proclaiming what we stand for by the way we live and the things we make a priority in our homes.
Study- We must never settle for weekend services at church and let that be our only Bible reading time. We must study the Word if we want to know our Creator. There are numerous resources available online for us to begin studying Scripture from a Hebrew perspective, that we may better understand it. There is so much more depth than we realize in God's Word. Teach it to your children. Be intentional and make time for it. Speak of it to your friends an family.
Speak Out- The more we study, the more we know our Savior. The Holy Spirit brings back to remembrance those things which we have learned. As we live our lives, we will inevitably witness others dishonoring God. We'll be around gossips, slanderers, drunkards, liars, blasphemers, etc. Some of them will be professed Christians; others may be family members. Will we choose to remain silent? Or will be choose to use godly wisdom and love to speak out? Prayerfully consider each individual situation.
Don't Compromise- People are watching. More importantly, the Lord is watching. The opportunities to sin will be countless! Every day of our lives will require choices of us. Pay close attention to the type of choices you make.
Do we watch that television show that doesn't honor God?
Do we have that extra drink? Do we lash out in anger, feeling justified?
Do we belittle or slander people that upset us? Our choices speak loudly of where our heart is. Is it in the world still?
Or does it belong to the Lord, completely?
Pray for Wisdom- It's so easy to be overwhelmed with the sad condition of the world we live in. We're not sure how to react to certain events. We are grieved by murders, broken families, lost souls, and the vulnerable children that are often stuck in the middle. While we cannot save the world, we must have ever present in our minds the fact that we are more than able to make a difference in someone's life. The better our witness is at home, the better the chances that we're creating a bigger force the world will reckon with one day when our children grow. The power of God at work in our lives. It begins with us; we model it to our children.
But right now, at this place in time, we have our own minds to make up to rise above our own feelings, insecurities, fears, and indifferences to honor God in a way that our minds and hearts are completely changed, in order to unapologetically, uncompromisingly, and courageously share the truth of Jesus Christ with this lost world. The whole church should be armed and ready for this.
How is the church divided, you ask?
Some accept truth; others give excuses.
Some seek God; others feed on superficial "biblical" sermons and call it a day.
Some are willing to expose sin; others are quiet, fearing being labeled as a "fanatic" or legalistic."
Some study even if it means challenging their own beliefs on certain doctrine; some are arrogant, claiming to know God's word and refuse anything that contradicts their "knowledge."
Some learn to be content with what they have (Philippians 4:11); some "name it and claim it," feeling entitled to riches and success.
Some worship God; others worship a god they've made up in their minds- one that fits their particular interests and selfish intentions, twisting Scriptures to fit.
We have yet to reach such unity that we are of one mind, seeking to glorify God instead of ourselves. We sacrifice obedience on the altar of convenience.
Only God can convict and change our hearts; I pray that He does. I pray that He gives us such hunger and genuine love for Him, that He will be all we seek; that justice, mercy, and humility will overcome us as His love brings us to our knees before His throne.
What will we do about the state of this world? Will we continue to allow our differences to divide us, therefore causing even more chaos, or will we confess our shortcomings, seek God for wisdom, and be His hands and feet?
Our choices impact people. Our choices are seen and interpreted based on others' perspectives. We cannot allow this to prevent us from moving forward. Consider the believers that will be inspired to step out in faith and do the same. Though the numbers seem few sometimes, they will steadily increase if we don't give up.
We will not always know if we are right in what we do; we might not be. Don't let that stop you either. If we dwell in the uncertainty of our choices, nothing will get done. God is the ultimate judge of our actions and sometimes all we can do is request that He close doors where we don't belong. Step out in faith anyway. If your intention is truly to honor God, serve Him, and obey, don't second-guess the doors He opens. You'll never know what He can do through you if you don't start walking. Your steps will become more defined and certain as you continue your journey. God is with you.
The time is coming when God will separate the sheep from the goats. Although our salvation was not purchased by our works, our actions are a result of our salvation, and love and gratitude because of it. We are to love like He loves- feeding the hungry, clothing the needy, and treating others as we would treat Christ Himself. We should be more concerned with imitating Him and sharing the Good News than protecting our reputations or arguing useless things with people who are not truly seeking wisdom.
There is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1), but time will run out. We have now. We have today. What will we do with it?
As we focus on our God and our purpose here on earth, we will be bridging the gap that divides the church- the body of Christ. Let's do our part. Every part of the body matters.