I was jogging this morning and writing a blog post in my head. If I told you how many times I do that, you'd be amazed. God has used this blog space time and time again to help me process the thoughts and emotions in my head. I'm an internal processor. Talking things out only works for me when I've had plenty of time to think and plan and rethink and replan. My mind is always full, but I'd never let any of those thoughts out without careful consideration.
In a crazy way, this blog has given me the freedom to do just that. But, I haven't been doing that lately. What I've noticed is that all of my thinking over the past couple of weeks has been in the form of mental blog posts. It's crazy absurd! So, this morning during my jog I decided that maybe God is urging me to write again. And, maybe, just maybe, it's for my own good even if no one else reads it!
A couple of Sundays ago, our lesson was on Jonah. I've been attending an adult Sunday school class for a month or so while we determine where I will serve. It's going to be really hard to leave now, because I enjoy the discussion so much. Our teacher reminded us that Jonah was living in rebellion in a big and obvious way. But, he asked us to think about how we all (in seemingly small ways) live in rebellion on a daily basis. I have not been able to quit thinking about that question.
During every quiet time, I'm asking myself where rebellion shows up in my life regularly. I'm also digging deeper to see where I participate in corporate rebellion in areas where behavior doesn't line up with the message of the Gospel. Every! Single! Time! I'm aware of the same answer.... DIVISION!
I know my last post covered unity extensively. But, based on the Facebook posts I saw this week, it's worth mentioning again. I believe (with all that is within me) that any place where a Christian's actions serve to DIVIDE rather than UNIFY is rebellion!
Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
2 Corinthians 13:11
I'm in a hurry this morning, so I'm just going to be quick and to the point. Is there any way a writer sits down at the computer to TEAR APART a fellow believer for their leadership, writing, or ministry with unity or their mind? The obvious answer is, "no," so I believe it's rebellion against God's call to unity. When another believer takes that negativity and posts it to her Facebook wall and a firestorm of negativity ensues, division is created. It's rebellion against God's call to love.
I'm over it! Joel, Jen, Beth, and Max have taken hit after hit from their own believing family. I don't know any of them personally, but my own walk has been strengthened by their ministries at some point. I doubt very seriously I agree with every, single thing they believe. But, I know they've led countless to the Lord. There will be a large number of people (human beings that Jesus came to live and die for) in heaven, because one of these obeyed God into ministry.And, they can't write, speak, or share anything without being crucified for it.
Jesus left the perfection of heaven, came to this messy Earth, lived a perfect life, and died an awful death to UNIFY us to Him and the Father, and we REFUSE to be unified together.
I believe it's REBELLION!
I'm also confronted with the fact that a great number of people were divided because of Christ's message, too. They were called Pharisees! They didn't like what He said, who He said it to, or how He said it. They crucified Him and called it protecting truth.
When I hear a message I don't quite agree with, my first reaction is to fight it. Fear fuels that desire, because I'm anxious those around me will be influenced in the wrong way. When it comes to my family, my Bible study, or small group, I will share my concerns. I feel responsible to them. But, I share with humility and caution, because I could be wrong! I know I will enter eternity and find out I was wrong on a number of topics, because I simply lack the ability to know all that God knows and see all that He sees. I believe that sin is sin and Jesus is the only way to complete forgiveness. But, I am not 100% sure HOW to respond to the sin or the lack of belief. I'm learning to lean more toward grace, love, and unity allowing the Holy Spirit to deal with the heart of the one I disagree with.
On that note, the Bible states that there will be an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the last days. What if we are experiencing it through the work of people who are sharing the Gospel in a more seeker friendly way? I'm NOT talking about people who are sharing a new way to salvation or a different Jesus than the one in the Bible. I AM talking about gifted writers and speakers that share the gospel in a way that many want to hear more and more. What if they are experiencing an outpouring of the Holy Spirit? What if God is using them to pour out His Holy Spirit into lives that NEVER would have listened to any other person?
Do not quench the Holy Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 5:19
That's Old Testament, 10 Commandments language! I'm not afraid that someone will share a message I don't fully agree with, because I know the Holy Spirit is powerful! When the Holy Spirit lives within a person, God will lead that person on their journey in Him. I AM afraid of quenching that Spirit within myself. One translation says, "Don't put out the Spirit's fire." I'm terrified of being guilty of that. If Jesus came to unify, and I am participating in division, the Spirit is being quenched somewhere! It! Must! STOP!
Y'all, I know I sound like a broken record. I say it over and over! But, we could make a difference in our world if we could agree to disagree YET still love each other! We could cause the unbelieving world stop and wonder what is going on if we could figure out how to be unified with all who profess a belief in Jesus Christ. Maybe they are wrong! But, no person can truly change another person. Only God, through the Holy Spirit can do that. And, all of our bickering, back biting, and slander is quenching His Holy Spirit.
My ultimate and number one prayer is that God would make JESUS so real and evident in the lives of His people that we would be unable to focus on anything else. When HE is high and lifted up, HE will draw all men to Himself. I believe Satan has won in causing us (in our relationships, in our homes, and in our churches) to FOCUS on minors! Division has been the outcome, and nothing makes me sadder. As believers we ARE a family. If one family member has to "lose" in order for another to "win", it's a LOSS for the family. Enough has been lost! Let's pray for unity!
But avoid foolish and ill-informed and stupid controversies and genealogies and dissensions and quarrels about the Law, for they are unprofitable and useless. After a first and second warning reject a divisive man (who promotes heresy and causes dissension -- ban him from your fellowship and have nothing more to do with him), well aware that such a person is twisted and is sinning; he is convicted and self-condemned (and is gratified by causing confusion among believers).
Titus 3: 9-12, Amplified Version