The following is the first part of an article I wrote and released today through Inscribe, the ministry website for my wife Kathi and me. If you are on the Inscribe mailing list, this will be a repeat, but for my readers who are not, I believe it is a message we need……
UNITY AND THE GLORY OF GOD
We are living right now in a critical moment in the United States. Many leaders are speaking and writing of the importance of the upcoming elections, and for those of us who are citizens, it is vital that we vote. We are accountable to God and each other and must not be passive. The decisions we make help shape the future direction of our nation.
But there is an issue that is deeper, and ultimately even more vital for the people of God. We must walk in love with one another. In John 17:21-23 Jesus prayed for all who would believe in Him:
…that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
When we walk in unity as the Body of Christ, we honor Jesus’ sacrifice and bring pleasure to the great heart of our loving Father. He deeply desires for His family to live in love with Him and with each other. We are told to honor and prefer one another, and seek opportunity to serve and do good to everyone—especially our brothers and sisters in the faith (Galatians 6:10).
But there is a corrupt and vicious array of foul beings that through the ages have unceasingly waged a dark war to create chaos and hatred among all the nations and people of the earth. We are aware of this battle as we survey the current “political landscape” of the United States. A great evil sweeps our land, seeking to divide and not just conquer, but devour us, sucking us into its foul maw of bitterness and debauchery. This evil feeds on our fleshly anger and engulfs us in foolish and unending argumentation and dispute over who and what and why. Our rhetoric and rancor is becoming more intense, shrill and histrionic. We bicker and fight and plead and coerce and present our case, and we cannot understand how any “right thinking” person could possibly disagree with us.
“You can’t be a Christian and vote for _____.”
“Our churches are asleep and have become morally bankrupt and spiritually corrupt.”
“Anyone who doesn’t get off their lazy behind and take this seriously is an idiot.”
And those are some of the nicer comments I have encountered.
But the Scriptures correct us:
…the tongue…is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so (James 3:8-10).
There is nothing—no issue, no opinion, no doctrine, no tradition—that gives a believer permission to live in offense. We are not given the option of excusing ourselves from our commitment to love and serve the Body of Christ, desiring to dwell with our brothers and sisters in unity (Psalm 133, John 13:12-15, 34-35).
It is important to realize that unity does not mean conformity. He who created us with different personalities and temperaments and physical attributes, who never crafts two identical sunsets or snowflakes, does not require us to think the same thoughts or carry precisely the same opinions or react with “cookie-cutter” passions (1 Corinthians 12:14-20). Perhaps you can’t understand how a person can believe certain doctrines or vote for a particular candidate or enjoy particular forms of music or eat certain foods. We all have our own tastes and understandings and preconceived ideas, which can create tension when we try to engage with a person who thinks differently. But we can love one another completely, without complete understanding, through the power of the Holy Spirit for the sake of Him who gave Himself for us.
We the People
Recently, Kathi wrote:
The first three words of the Preamble to our US Constitutions are: “We the people…”
Last night at our house of prayer night we prayed for our nation. As we did I kept hearing these three words over and over. I didn’t pray them or even share them because I didn’t have any revelation further as to why I was hearing it. Then I woke up this morning hearing these words again, “We the people…”
As I waited on the Lord I began to see the people of God standing in unity as one family before one Father. As they stood, each person began to release items they had been clutching: opinions, doctrinal beliefs, political alignments, social differences, cultural differences and historic offenses. As they let these things fall I heard the sound of cymbals hitting the ground, and this verse came to mind:
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal (1 Corinthians 13:1).
We cast away all those things that “we His people” hold onto that divide His family because they are absent of love. I then saw the prayer of Jesus from John 17 re-fill the hearts and hands of all who stood before Him.
“We the people” of God were becoming one as we let go of the things that divide us from loving Him and loving one another. As this happened I saw religious and political mindsets come off people, preconceptions that had caused them to continually be offended or fixated on “issues” rather than love and unity. Their minds became free to embrace their brothers and sisters, rather than only embrace doctrinal issues.
The Preamble goes on to say: “We the people, in order to form a more perfect union…” God desires a more perfect union (unity) within His family. This is His prayer; not merely for us, but for those who will come to believe as they see the unity in God’s family.
In a time that nations are divided, races are divided, families are divided, the world is desperately looking for a place where peace, love and unity exist. “We the people” of God must be that place. Lay down all that divides, lay down the gongs and symbols that ring in the ears of a world of noise and allow love to recalibrate us.
Next: Part Two–“But God….”