The Bible tells us in 1Corinthians 12:12-27, that we are all members of one body, who is Christ. If you are born again, you have received the spirit of adoption; which means you can now call God “Daddy” (Rom 8:15). That makes us brothers and sisters in Christ; a.k.a. “Family”. A church body is a family. Families don’t cut and run when there are disagreements. Families are supposed to work out their differences. This teaching not only applies to your church family; but these practical principles can also be used in your work family; your home family; and your extended family of friends. Let’s get into God’s Word.
Ephesians 6:10-12 tells us that our war is not against flesh and blood; but against spiritual forces of darkness. 2Cor 10:3-5 tells us that the weapons of are warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to pull down strongholds. So the first thing we need to realize, is that PEOPLE ARE NOT YOUR PROBLEM. If it has flesh and blood, your war is not against it. Your boss; your wife; your husband; your kids; your co-worker; a person at church: they are not your problem. We war against satan; are warfare is spiritual, and we’re to use spiritual weapons (see Eph 6:13-18).
Why do you think Jesus said to bless those that curse you? Pray for those that use you? That’s fighting a spiritual war with spiritual weapons. Satan comes to kill, steal, and destroy (Jn 10:10). We are not to hate our brother or sister, we are to love them. If we don‘t, then God’s Word says you don’t love God, either (1Jn 2:11, 4:20-21). Love for the brethren is an out flowing of your love for God. They go hand and hand.
Second, we must know that God HATES DISUNITY. Proverbs 6:16-19 says that a person who sows discord among the brethren is an abomination to God. He hates it because of the damage it does to His church, and the lives it can ruin. Jesus prayed that we would be one with each other, as He is one with The Father (Jn 17:20-21). Where there is envy and strife, there is confusion and every evil work (Jam 3:16). God hates it. God wants a church body to have no divisions, and be perfectly joined together (1Cor 1:10). He wants us to be spiritual; to be mature: not carnal, with a bunch of strife and division (1Cor 3:1-3).
God says in Proverbs 22:10 that when you cast out the scorner, contentions will cease. And Prov. 26:20 says, that where there is no wood, the fire goes out; so where there is no back biter, strife ceases. We don’t want to be the person God is referring to here. We want to strive for unity, and not be a problem causer. However, if there are any pastors reading this, don’t be upset if some one has left your church, and your attempts to reconcile have been rejected. It could be God doing you a big favor, and “casting out the scorner“.
The third principal in resolving differences is knowing that the first will be last (Mt 20:16), and the greatest is the least (Lk 9:48). That’s how God’s kingdom works. John the Baptist said that Jesus must increase, and he must decrease. That should be our heart. Phip 2:2-4 says we should esteem other people higher than ourselves, and not be focused on ourselves all the time. That’s why so many people are depressed; they’re so self centered, they don’t think of what they could do for anyone else. Rom. 12:10 says we should prefer our brothers and sisters over our self; and Eph 4:1-3 says we should bear each other in love, and keep unity and peace.
So many times, the reason we get offended or have strife, is because we want our way, or recognition, or our title. We want to be served, instead of being a servant. Or we go to church to observe and criticize, instead of to love and serve. Borrowing from JFK, “Ask not what your church can do for you; but what you can do for your church”. Jesus, The Lord of Glory, our example, got on His knees and washed His disciple’s dirty feet. That needs to be our attitude. You should use your ministry (service) to build people; not use people to build your ministry.
There is much more to say on this next week, Lord willing. Until next time, rejoice in The Lord!