The enemy would love to bring division as we reopen our counties and reenter our church buildings. From smaller issues like wearing face coverings to the looming concerns addressing racism, there seems to be increasing questions and growing anxiety.
The Bible says that we are to be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:30). Recently Chuck Lawless shared seven reasons the enemy would love to divide the church. I couldn’t say it better than him, so here is his list.
- Division typically turns believer against believer. That’s the nature of division, of course – but it’s also Satan’s tool to divide and conquer the forces of light against him. We don’t threaten Satan when we’re shooting each other in the back.
- Division distracts from the work of the Great Commission. Every church I’ve seen that fought through an issue of division at least temporarily lost their focus on reaching non-believers. Division is most often an inwardly-focused diversion.
- Division harms our witness before a fractured world. Jesus indicated, in fact, that our oneness would be one way the world would know the Son had come (John 17:20-23). Supernatural unity is a witness of the work of the Spirit; division is an evidence of the work of the enemy.
- Division is often tied to our clinging to our idols. Too often, division is connected to our personal desires or preferences, and we fight for things that matter little in eternity. We selfishly cling to what we want without regard for others, including God—and that’s idolatry.
- Division demoralizes even the best leaders. Few veteran church leaders bear no scars of some kind of church division in the past (or the present). And, the anguish of division can be long-lasting pain that negatively influences the rest of one’s ministry.
- Division can turn young generations from the church. In my experience, they now can’t even remember what the division was about – but they surely still remember how church members acted. Wrong though it may be, they still use those fights as an excuse to avoid church today.
- Division gives the enemy a victory. Paul was clear that we wrestle not against flesh and blood (that is, other human beings), but against principalities and powers (Eph 6:12). So, we ignore their wiles – in fact, we give in to them and follow the enemy’s lead – when we turn against each other.
There’s a reason Jesus prayed for us to be one: unity is a gift and work of God. Let’s ask God to help us stand together against the enemy these days.
(Originally posted by Chuck Lawless http://chucklawless.com/ )
BEFORE YOU GO
So where do we go from here?
- Start with the Bible, not culture. We need to be culturally aware, not culturally driven. In America today, spirituality has become confusingly entangled with cultural norms. We need to return to scripture to find the why of our behaviors. Ultimately, the problem is a sin problem, and the solution begins with a Savior.
- Start with your Christian faith, not politics. We are first Christians, citizens second. If it is a matter of faith, it should make sense in all contexts. This is our calling as Christ-followers. Good citizenship comes as an overflow of our Christ-likeness and may express itself differently depending on our circumstances and convictions.
- Start with our Mission, not preferences. We are called to share Jesus and the power of the Gospel. This is a spiritual battle. We need to return to Christ’s mandate for His church (Matthew 28:19-20) so we don’t confuse our opinions with scriptural non-negotiables.