April 1, 2021
May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.Romans 15:5-6 NLT
There are many words that could describe the Church of Jesus Christ today, but “One” is not on the list. Even many local churches could not be described by the word “One.” We find all kinds of things to disagree and divide over. We fight over things as trivial as the kind of seats in the church all the way through what version of the Bible is the “right” one, how to baptize, signs and wonders, lifestyle matters, and everything in between. We have thousands of voices, each one claiming to be the one and only truth. The cacophony of chaos confuses the church itself and makes us the object of derision and rejection by the world. The “one voice” Paul pictured following the one command of Jesus, to love others as He has loved us, is lost in the noise. It’s particularly discouraging and actually terminal because when they reject the Church, they generally by default reject Jesus too. They have no clear pathway to get there.
Paul tells us that we are to look to God for patience and encouragement in living a focused life, a life that lets the Holy Spirit do the convicting and we, the Jesus-followers, do the loving. As we are patient and encouraged, we are able to see beauty in each other and move beyond disagreement over nonessential, trivial things. We are enabled to live incompleteharmony with each other.
Here’s a thought: Paul says complete harmony is what is fitting for followers of Jesus Christ. Hmm. We fight for principles about dress, individual choices, church decisions, and act as though the future of the faith depends on what we decide, as if those issues are definitive for Jesus-followers. What if we fought for unity and complete harmony? That’s what is fitting. That’s what looks good on believers. You don’t see anywhere in these early followers of Jesus concern for the nitpicky things that bother us. Most of them were stylistic additions to the church according to cultures of the time and weren’t even an issue in those formative days. What was significant and central then and now is harmony—Christians are supposed to get along. It is not fitting for us to be out of harmony. Our distinctive is to be that we make the main thing the main thing: We are to give praise and glory to God with one harmonious voice. How might that change the world and the church if it became a reality?
- My husband was famous within our family and church for saying, “It won’t be an issue if we don’t make it one.” It was the calming voice that helped us many times. What is something that will quit being an issue if you drop it and concentrate on just bringing glory to Jesus? How can you help the community at NewPointe?