Break division and individualism. In any organization, division will rot away unity. Where there is no unity, there is little chances for success.
Differences are for a purpose but sometimes it leads to confusion and individualism. Because different people have different views and preferences, they could pose hurdles in communication and in working together as one. And when one or more members of a group do not have the flexibility and the spirit of meekness and selflessness, the problem compounds.
This also can happen and do happens in churches. People have difficulty in finding common ground or a point of meeting of ideas and reconciliation of differences. This happens when differences in beliefs, opinions, and attitudes clash. And when people focus on their own individual preferences and agenda, the group divides. But the Bible teaches us to preserve the bond of unity among us.
“I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and humility, with patience, bearing with one another in love, being eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”– Ephesians 4:1-3 (WEB)
We are different but we are one. It is clear that differences is not a sufficient reason to prevent believers from being united.
“There is one body and one Spirit, even as you also were called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in us all. But to each one of us, the grace was given according to the measure of the gift of Christ.”– Ephesians 4:4-7 (WEB)
If a body of believers could not maintain the bond of peace, it is not really because of differences. It is because of pride and selfishness. Both pride and selfishness look at self and its own desires and goals. Remember, Lucifer’s pride caused division among the angels. So, when members find themselves unable to extend a hand of grace in the existing differences, most likely, pride rules. But people who walk by the Spirit of God are meek, humble, and understanding of other people’s differences and opinions. It is natural that within a church people have different views, expectations, beliefs, and even cultural background. But, even with these differences, God has called us to work, serve, and live as one. To do that, we need to put away pride and selfishness by looking away from our selfish intentions and, instead, looking to God alone for every thing we do and plan. When we look at the church in light of who God is to the church, we will not anymore have room for selfish thoughts. Looking to God in all of these will lead us to realize that
- The church is one body and one Spirit.
- The church has one hope and calling.
- The church has one faith.
- The church has one Lord.
- The church has one baptism.
- The church has one God.
- To each one in the church has been given the grace according to the measure of gift of Christ.
None of these will be clear to us unless we look beyond ourselves and focus on Christ. When we realize this, we will have less bickering, less critical spirit, less selfishness, and less envy and jealousy. Looking at Jesus and focusing on Him will draw us closer to the marvelous and great love of the Savior and we are able to walk in love.
We are beautifully different. None is lower than the other. None is more significant than the other. We have our own place in the church according to the grace that Christ gives to each one of us. Live by His grace and serve in that place God put you to help keep the bond of peace among believers. It is not always who is right but how WE could make things right as we glorify God in our lives.