Have you ever seen a marriage, family, neighbor, or church…divided? It’s a gruesome sight. Like a war with casualties lying around, limbless.
Often the result of divisions is a bloody mess. Still in retrospect, how many people really think they are the ones creating division? Often we won’t notice this type of war until after everything around us is dismembered.
But God never intended for Christians to be from different camps, enemies on the same battlefield. God calls us to be united, one body, connected; having a similar vision…to live for the glory of God. (1 Cor 1:10)
So where do families, marriages, life, churches go wrong? Scripture tells us there is an enemy of our soul, who seeks to devour all good around us. He seeks to steal, kill, and destroy any unity among us. (1 Peter 5:8)
In addition, Scripture tells us, the weapons of our warfare are not carnal; our battle is not against flesh and blood. (Eph 6:12) So what can we do to remain united, in a world almost rejoicing when believers, exaggerate idiosyncrasies or create divisions all around us?
1. Focus on the war, not the battle. Have you ever heard that saying, “They will win the battle, but they won’t win the war?’ Well, Scripture tells us that God already is the victor. (Eph 1:19-23)
Sadly, we can see too many Christian’s pick apart the life, doctrine, little things within other families, churches, people’s lives, or ministries. Isn’t it time we focus on the majors, not the minors? Unity means that we recognize that we are on the same side and that our battle is against the same enemy…and that enemy is never people. (Eph 6:12) We must fix our eyes on the prize (Phil 3:14), on the need to unite on what is a major, not a minor aspect of one another Christian’s life. If we are serving Jesus, and following him with our lives, we can rally with other people and realize that even if the battle is hard…together, we will win the war.
2. Look to the Commander. In wars of old, there would always be a leader that would lead the charge forward. (i.e. Alexander the Great, Joan of Arc, William Wallace) All the people would look to their leader for what to do and where to go. As Christians, we have a great Commander to our cause. His name is Jesus. And if we look to him, disturbances within the body will not cause us fractions, divisions, separations from one another. When we follow under God’s perfect banner of love….all of God’s people will come together, being naturally one, because our eyes are on our Commander, not on each other, our emotions, or the fleeting difficulties of our circumstances. (Matt 28:18)
3. Hold our banner high. In a battle, there is always a time of surrender, a time of yielding our way. There is a time when a white flag is held high and we realize that we can no longer continue to keep on fighting. Maybe your marriage has been the warfront? Maybe you have been battling with another Christian brother or sister? If that is that case….take the position of one who can’t fight any longer. Put your guns of accusation and the weapons you have used to harm one another, and lay them at the feet of the cross. It may be helpful to remember all the grace that God has first given us. All the times God could have called us to the rug, held our sins over us, but instead, He went to the cross and shed His blood, that we might have grace, that we might be forgiven for things that we did. (Romans 5:8) We must always keep in mind, first, that we ourselves are far from perfect. Then, the plank in our eyes will drop us to our knees, instead of leading us to point out the speck that we see, in the eyes of those around us. (Matt &:3-4)
When we know, understand, and see that the battle is not ours, that it is the Lords solely…we can lay our weapons down willingly and stop fighting. (2 Chronicles 20:15) Our example is the battle of Jericho, where walls came down not because of man’s power, great weapons, or careful warfare…but by the power of God alone. (Joshua 5:13-6:27)
No matter what your situation, God has the power to part the seas. (Exodus 14) He is Jehovah Shalom, the God of peace. (Judges 6:24) Will you come to Him, get on your knees, ask for grace, and seek Him to bring healing, restoration, and unity to where there has been division? Will you hold your white flag and let go of the bitterness, anger, and comparing that has brought division in your life, your marriage, your family, or your church? Will you give the battle over to Him?
For even if it looks like all is lost…God is still Sovereign, God is in control, God is still omnipresent over all. He has won the war. (Psalms 102:19) Seek God in humility, sincerity, remembering what He has done for us, laying our carnal weapons of warfare willingly at the feet of the cross. For His love is the healing balm that covers over every wound, love wipes away, and covers over a multitude of our sins. (Songs of Solomon 2:4, 1 Peter 4:8)
Christ died so that we might be His children, arm in arm, together fighting for His kingdom to come; His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Matt 6:10)
So let’s let love lead our charge towards unity and love….our greatest weapon of warfare. Are you ready to stand up, give up, lay it all down at the cross, and wield your sword of love towards unity?
Though born, raised, and still living only miles from where she grew up, Jen's heart lies in the nations. Jen loves the beautiful tapestry found in the wide diversity of people, different cultures, and all nations. Jen and her husband have been married twenty years, and have parented fifteen kids and counting; twelve foster, one adopted, and two bios. Her multi-racial family reflects her passion for unity, desire for faith without walls, and missional mindset to share both the gospel and the power of redemption to a world desperately needing the hope found in Jesus Christ. Jen and her husband have led in a variety of ministries; including prayer, small groups, children's, and women’s. Jen advocates for the orphan as a board member for the non-profit, A New Song; and loves doing missions work internationally, along with her family. You can find Jen writing about faith, while challenging her readers at her blog, Rich Faith Rising, as well as at tweeting faith-filled messages @Jen_Avellaneda . Jen is also on facebook.
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