Bible Verse of the Day

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Day 21 – Protecting your church

It is your job to protect the unity of your church

Unity is the soul of fellowship. Our supreme model for unity is the Trinity. If you are part of God’s family do everything possible to preserve the unity, protect the fellowship and promote harmony among all. Nothing on earth is more valuable to God than His church. (I suppose your immortal soul cannot really be labeled as ‘of this earth’)

+ FOCUS on what we have in common; not differences

As believers we share one Lord, one body, one purpose, one Father, one Spirit, one hope, one faith, one baptism and one love. – The same salvation, life and future – these are the issues we should concentrate on. God wants unity not uniformity – we must stay focused on learning to love each other as Christ has loved us. When we focus on personalities, preferences, interpretations, styles, or methods – division always occurs.

+ BE realistic in your expectations

Longing for the ideal while criticizing the real is evidence of immaturity – settling for the real without striving for the ideal is complacency. We must passionately love the church in spite of its imperfections. People become disillusioned with the church for many understandable reasons. Because we’re sinners, we hurt each other. Divorcing the church is a mark of immaturity – there is no perfect church to escape to. The sooner we give up the illusion that a church must be perfect in order to love it, the sooner we quit pretending and start admitting we’re all imperfect and need grace – the beginning of real community.

+ CHOOSE to encourage rather than criticize

When you criticize what another believer is doing in faith and from a sincere conviction, you are interfering with God’s business. Whenever I judge another believer I loose fellowship with God, I expose my own pride and insecurity, I set myself up to be judged by God and I harm the fellowship of the church. That’s the devil’s job – anytime we do the same, we’re being duped into doing Satan’s work for him.

+ REFUSE to listen to gossip

Passing on information when you are neither part of the problem nor the solution (Don’t we all do this…?) Gossip is like accepting stolen property – it makes you just as guilty of the crime. People who gossip cannot be trusted – if they gossip to you they will gossip about you. Troublemakers listen to troublemakers.

+ PRACTICE God’s method for conflict resolution

If a fellow believer hurts you go and tell him or her. Private confrontation is always the first step. If you’re unable to work things out between the two of you, the next step is to take one or two witnesses to help confirm the problem and reconcile the relationship. If the person (or you) still refuses to listen after that, you should treat that person like an unbeliever. (Strive to get them back in God’s love)

+ SUPPORT your spiritual leaders

Spiritual leaders often have the unpleasant task of serving as mediator between hurt, conflicting or immature members – the impossible task of trying to make everyone happy. Contribute to the joy of their leadership, not to its drudgery – they will one day stand before God and give account of how well they watched over you – and you will give account of how well you followed. (I again remind that one should be wary of leaders with personal agendas and skewed motives – they are after all also only fragile humans) We protect the fellowship when we honour those who authentically serve us by leading purely.

GOD blesses churches that are unified. The truth is, EVERYONE needs and wants to be loved, and when people find a church (a group of believers, not the building or communal trappings) where members (contributors not attenders) genuinely love and care for each other, you would have to lock the doors to keep them away!

Have a fruitful day under God’s love and guidance. ~ Stafford

“A song of ascents. I call on the LORD in my distress, and he answers me.” -Psalm 120:1 

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