Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fighting for Unity

Psalm 133:1  
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity  

As I grow and mature as a believer in the evangel of Paul, I am discovering that is inevitable that we all, as believers will come to disagreements.  As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians even now we see only as through a glass darkly.  Perhaps one person sees through part of the fog more clearly than another.  If so, we ought to offer every grace to the fellow slave of Christ acknowledging that we do not have all the answers;

Phillipians 3:15
 Whoever, then, are mature, may be disposed to this, and if in anything you are differently disposed, this also shall God reveal to you.

God has not given us a complete revelation of all things, but only that which is necessary for our perfecting in this eon.  All of us who understand the evangel of Paul and are therefore a part of the Body of Christ should not seek to impose his convictions on every member he comes across.  God has not created us to be exactly alike in every thought, but to be unified in the spirit.

Romans 13:8
To no one owe anything, except to be loving one another, for he who is loving another has fulfilled law.

We are all slaves of Christ, yet not all will have the same conscience or conviction.

Romans 14:2-4
 One, indeed, is believing to eat all things, yet the infirm one is eating greens.
Let not him who is eating be scorning him who is not eating. Yet let not him who is not eating be judging him who is eating, for God took him to Himself.
Who are you who are judging Another's domestic? To his own Master he is standing or falling. Now he will be made to stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

We each have different experiences, struggles, and needs.  We each add to the sufferings of Christ through our trials.  We each can build each other up by our own experiences and words of wisdom.  Therefore let none of us disdain another for his differences.  It would be foolish to reject the friendship of another brother or sister on something so temporal as our own convictions.  This Eon is quickly coming to a close and we need the love and friendship of each one of us to see all of us through to the end.  Paul understood this and desired nothing more than unity throughout the entire Body of Christ.

Ephesians 4:11-14
 And the same One gives these, indeed, as apostles, yet these as prophets, yet these as evangelists, yet these as pastors and teachers,
 toward the adjusting of the saints for the work of dispensing, for the upbuilding of the body of Christ,
 unto the end that we should all attain to the unity of the faith and of the realization of the son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature of the complement of the Christ,
 that we may by no means still be minors, surging hither and thither and being carried about by every wind of teaching, by human caprice, by craftiness with a view to the systematizing of the deception.

Phillipians 2:1-7
If, then, there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any communion of spirit, if any compassion and pity,
fill my joy full, that you may be mutually disposed, having mutual love, joined in soul, being disposed to one thing --
nothing according with faction, nor yet according with vainglory -- but with humility, deeming one another superior to one's self,
not each noting that which is his own, but each that of others also.
For let this disposition be in you, which is in Christ Jesus also,
Who, being inherently in the form of God, deems it not pillaging to be equal with God,
nevertheless empties Himself, taking the form of a slave, coming to be in the likeness of humanity,

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Letting the Light Shine Out

A Broken Jar

2 Cor 4:5-8

5 For we are not heralding ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, yet ourselves your slaves because of Jesus,
6 for the God Who says that, out of darkness light shall be shining, is He Who shines in our hearts, with a view to the illumination of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 Now we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the transcendence of the power may be of God and not of us.

  As believers who live on this earth, often far apart from those who are similar faith and mind; we are constantly aware of our shortcomings.  I myself am hard of hearing.  I struggle to understand my 3 year old at times.  I often find it difficult to keep up in group conversations and quickly get exhausted and eventually have to give up because I simply cannot maintain that level of focus for very long.  Oh that I would have perfect hearing!  And one day, I know I shall.

   But today, I continue to be hard of hearing and sometimes even deaf.  Why would Father do this?  Doesn't he know I could more powerfully preach his word if I could hear and jump into a conversation and powerfully express his teachings?  Doesn't he see how this binds me and slips me up?

   Even our apostle Paul struggled with these things.  In desperation he cried out to Father and he answered in 2 Corinthians 12:9

9 And He has protested to me, "Sufficient for you is My grace, for My power in infirmity is being perfected." With the greatest relish, then, will I rather be glorying in my infirmities, that the power of Christ should be tabernacling over me. 

   I have come to view myself, and all believers, as jars.  We often have cracks running down the side of us in these earthly vessels.  That's ok, because inside of us is a light - the very POWER of Christ's resurrection.  Isn't that exciting?  The very power that rose Christ from the dead now dwells in you.  In Phillipians 3:10-11 Paul writes

10 to know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, conforming to His death,
11 if somehow I should be attaining to the resurrection that is out from among the dead.

  He wasn't questioning his salvation or hinting at a secret resurrection that will happen before the one mentioned in 1 Thessalonians.  He was expressing his sincere desire to appreciate the power at work within him.  The very power that rose Jesus from the dead now works within us, he desired to be conscious of it.  To live at peace, and boldly so, within the power of Christ.

   How often do we struggle to keep this in mind, while failing at every turn in these weak jars of clay we now posses?  Don't despair - just remember, your cracks are exactly what God needs to let the light shine out!