"I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought." 1 Corinthians 1:10 (NIV)
I've been thinking a lot lately about divisions within the Body of Christ. Far too often, Followers of Christ build up walls of division between each other. We forget that which we have in common. We were all born under the curse of sin. God loved us so much he sent his only son to die for our sins. Jesus was resurrected and ascended to the Father. He is our advocate. Anyone... yes, anyone... who repents of their sin and accepts God's forgiveness shall receive God's pardon or salvation.
Furthermore, we are to be witnesses of what God has done in our lives. That means sharing with others whether it be from the pulpit, out on the street, or your kitchen table. The way you simply live your life should be a testimony of God's work in your life.
Instead of being concerned about a world of people who need God, we worry about all sorts of little details such as how long a man's hair should be or how short a woman's hair should be. What name needs to be on the outside of the church building? What should you eat, drink, wear, etc.? I'm not saying people shouldn't examine their lives and grow in Christ. What I'm saying is that we need to focus on what is the most important thing. Then, we need to let the Holy Spirit do the teaching. Yes, he can and does often use us as an instrument but we must be extremely careful that we are teaching God's Word, not our own word.
When we push our own ideas rather than doing things God's way, we cause injury to the Body of Christ. The physical body is a good example of what happens. Our bodies are made up of cells which divide and multiply in an orderly fashion. While they have the same DNA and are all a part of the same body, they create many different parts.
Sometime ago, I had some cells that for unknown reasons began to do something different. They were ordinary cells, just like all of the other cells I have. Something happened. They began to grow, divide and multiply differently from all the other cells. I didn't feel any diffent or look any different. I wasn't even aware that this was happening. Actually, my body itself wasn't "aware" this was happening. Although the cells are "deviant" cells doing things they shouldn't do and moving into places they shouldn't be, my built-in security system (immune system) doesn't consider them an invader... because they are a part of me.
Eventually, these cells broke out of the area that contained them and are now on the move. Once again, I was not aware of any of this. However, when an routine examination took place, these mutant cells who are doing their own thing were discovered. While they haven't caused enough problems for me to feel it, they are expanding and influencing the tissue right around them.
Now that I'm aware of them, I have two choices. I can either deal with the mutant cells at the source or I can continue to let them do their own thing. When they follow their own way, they are no longer in unity with the rest of the body. If I continue to let them grow, they will eventually disrupt the body one area at a time. The final outcome would be death to the body.
My other option is to cut out the offending cells and undergo treatment to destroy any cancer cells that may have been missed. While that will be painful and the body will suffer, the purpose of all of this is to enable the body to have all the cells working in unity once again.
I, for one, do not want God to have to "cut me out" of the Body of Christ because I'm more interested in my way than God's way. I want to do a better job of studying God's Word carefully and seeking God in prayer before I speak or teach. I want to live God's way, not my way (or someone else's). I want to be one with my brothers and sisters in Christ as the Father and the Son are one. I want to never forget that what I think is not important... what God thinks is the only thing that matters!
*8/18/11--This blog is now part of a series entitled Walking With God In The Midst of Cancer.