This is the second part of finding God’s will for our lives.
1 Thessalonians 5:13b “Be at peace among yourselves.”
It’s been said that Christians (at least here in America) eat ourselves. We may not have the intense physical and very real persecution that is experienced in third world countries; however, we do have different types of persecution. And unfortunately, some of that persecution comes from those that should be our own brothers and sisters. Yesterday, I wrote about the petty squabble that a church had over which side the piano should be, it wasn’t even over a doctrinal issue. How many other churches have split over issues that don’t matter at all?
Paul wrote to Titus giving him guidance, “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another” (Titus 3:1-3).
Ever since the beginning of the Church, there’s been divisions (like whether Gentiles should become Jews before accepting Jesus). So important that we, as the people of God, get things together. We need to figure the things that are worth fighting for (like the deity of Jesus) and the things that aren’t so important (like serving grape juice for communion vs. serving wine). There are a lot of various theologies and doctrines being taught out there, most of these are just feeble attempts made by a human mind to comprehend the incomprehensible. That’s why it is so very important for us to put everything to the test of God’s Word and Spirit. We must always ask ourselves; is this important? Is this uplifting? Will this build and encourage the body of believers or will it tear it down? That’s why Paul further tells Titus, “ But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless” (Titus 3:9). These things will only turn people away from faith in Jesus.
James wrote about the divisions within the church in James (4:1-3). He asked, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you?”
Then he stated the problem, “Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.” Remember that anyone who hates his brother is a murderer (1 John 3:15). We have three great enemies to face; Satan, the world, and our flesh. The flesh, the sinful part of ourselves, is one of the greatest weapons that the enemy can use against us. We can become jealous of the leadership within the church. We can become jealous of someone’s testimony. We can become jealous that someone got a blessing when we didn’t. And the list goes on. We must learn to take mastery over our flesh and discipline it.
But thankfully, James also gave us the solution to the problem. “You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” We must always put our faith in God. The Bible tells us to ask Jesus for our every need (Philippians 4:6). When we ask Jesus to meet our needs, we put our faith in Him. If we do not ask Jesus for our needs to be met we do not put our faith in Jesus and that’s outright sin (Romans 14:23).
Also, we ask Jesus, we should ask with a right heart. For example, if my car broke down and I needed a new one, it would be right for me to pray for a new one. But, it would be wrong for me to ask for a shiny new 2013 Shelby GT500 Mustang (I like Mustangs) so I could look cool.
The main point here is that we should always be on the lookout to bless one another, to support one another, to rejoice in the blessings of others, and to mourn for those who are in mourning. We must work at being peaceable with one another.