Jesus Christ told His disciples to, “love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) Do you think He realized how hard that would be? Since He knew His crucifixion and death were impending when He spoke those words, it’s safe to say He had a very clear idea of what a toll it would take to truly love people – and He did it anyway. It’s not that Jesus doesn’t understand how hard it is to deal with people and their problems, it’s that His love covers a “multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8) because His love is that perfect and complete. That being said – in all of life, if you’ve got people, you’ve got problems. It is no different in the church. Author Nicky Gumbel once said: “The ‘perfect church’ does not exist because as soon as you join it, it will no longer be perfect!”
Here’s the thing about people: We love to accuse in others what we excuse in ourselves. The body of Christ is a melting pot of nations, tribes and tongues, traditions, issues and pain, education, background, mindsets, worldviews, musical styles and everything else! Yet Paul said, “For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether we are Jews or Gentiles, whether we are slaves or free, and we have all been made to drink of one Spirit. The body is not one part, but many.” (Read more in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27)
You know about the “regular” spiritual weapons of warfare by now: The name of Jesus, prayer, praise and the Word of God… but there’s more! Other Christians are a very under-utilized spiritual weapon of warfare. Why? Because it’s soooo hard to like some of them! Argh. What a successful tactic of Satan! Divide and conquer. If Satan can keep you focused on how irritating someone is at your church or how much they’ve offended or wounded you, it’s going to be harder and harder for you to enter into worship, or receive from the Word or even hear God’s voice because you’ll always be trapped in a corner hearing the voice of the accuser of the brethren. Paul wrote, “…those parts of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.” (1 Corinthians 12:22) Why? Because every true follower of Christ represents a clear and present danger to Satan which is why he tries so hard to emphasize their more irritating qualities while getting you to minimize your own!
Every true follower of Christ represents a clear and present danger to Satan which is why he tries so hard to emphasize their more irritating qualities while getting you to minimize your own…
Paul said it this way, “Speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:19) And this: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16) As much as you may not like it, every genuine Christian at your church has value in Kingdom of God and in your life. The role of another Christian (and your role in their lives) is to testify, teach, share revelation, sing Scriptures, build faith, challenge each other. They have a unique gift, anointing, revelation and faith that you do not have because their relationship with the Lord is their own. Think about it this way: Recall to your mind the most irritating, grating, frustrating person at your church…. What amazing value do they possess to possibly be a catalyst for change in your life that Satan is trying this hard to keep you from seeing??
Thought for today
You cannot give Satan permission to weaken your connection in worship and from the Holy Spirit’s light and holy presence by dragging you into darkness like gossip, bitterness, unforgiveness, resentment, jealousy and the rest. If you’re struggling inside against another Christian, remember, Satan wants to use them to harm you, but God wants to use them to arm you!! Paul wrote that Christ’s desire for the church was that we would not behave like the world who has “their understanding darkened, excluded from the life of God through the ignorance that is within them, due to the hardness of their hearts.” (Ephesians 4:18) And yet we all struggle to like some Christians, don’t we? There is power in numbers, and Satan knows that! Here’s what Paul wrote to the church, those already in Christ: “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, outbursts, and blasphemies, with all malice, be taken away from you. And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32) You’ll never, ever change them- that’s God’s job. But if you can humble yourself and earnestly commit to praying for them, God will finally be able to show you, in them, what He wants you to see. <3