Message to the body of Christ as a whole: please, be oh-so-careful about judging the hearts of others before you know their story. So much wounding takes place when we assume we know the thoughts and intentions of others and then knee-jerk react accordingly. There is so much division within the body because of our attitudes of self-preservation, self-defense, and self-promotion, and I, too, stand guilty as charged.
This walk is not about you. It’s not about me. It’s also not about any particular church congregation or denomination or organization or program. Jesus prayed that we would all be one, just as He and His Father are one.
“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world might believe that You sent Me.” ~ John 17:20-21
Until we as true believers in Jesus Christ can get past our differences and personal grievances, and move as one body under the leadership of our one head – Jesus Christ – the devil has us defeated. If we are to take Jesus’ prayer at face value, then it would seem that leading the world to a belief in Jesus as God’s Son is entirely dependent upon the oneness of the body. If we are not one, then the world will not believe, and the devil has succeeded in his strategy of “divide and conquer.”
As believers we have invested for decades or more in our church buildings, our church programs, our church memberships, with one church always trying to outdo another. Our focus on appearance and numbers divides us along the lines of the haves and the have-nots, with the haves condescending to the have-nots, and the have-nots viewing the haves with an attitude of martyrdom and spiritual superiority.
Church of Jesus Christ – WAKE UP!! Wake up from your slumber! Wake up from your bickering, and fighting, and comparing, and complaining! We should all be on our faces before God weeping and pleading with Him to forgive us for wasting our God-given time and energy on the pettiness that drives the world away from our doorstep. We should be begging His forgiveness for our apathy and selfishness and ignorance of the spiritual plight and need of the rest of the world.
WHAT MOVES YOU?? Is it the fact that you know for sure that there are hundreds, maybe thousands in your own city who have never heard the true Gospel of Jesus Christ? Or is it the fact that your church member went to a service at another church?
Are you moved by the fact that there are thousands of starving children and persecuted Christians all over the world who are in desperate need of your prayers and support and intervention, or the fact that you can’t get your church members to serve the other church members who are growing fat on the Gospel and commiserating about the day when they will all finally get to leave this awful world, and yet never moving beyond the walls of the church to share the Gospel that will save the world from their sins??
Oh dear God, please forgive me for the part I have played in perpetuating the kind of behavior that brings shame, not glory, on your precious, Holy Name. Forgive us as a body for ignoring the glaring needs all around us while we are busy defending our personal rights and feelings, fighting for our own comfort, demanding we be treated fairly, refusing to take up our cross and follow Jesus because it is much easier to wear a cross and think nice thoughts about Him instead.
Father, I am sorry. I am really, truly sorry. I beg of You – give us the nations for our inheritance. Make of us ONE HOLY CHURCH with ONE HOLY MISSION, to make Your great Name known throughout the world, in order to preach the Gospel to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed.
Make us one, dear Father – in the name of Your precious Son, Jesus.
Make us one.