We have gone over the idea of leaving your religious labels behind, and many of you have balked at that idea. I have heard many concerns that my “ideas” can be harmful to our Godly relationship or that I am not speaking Godly things. Because of this, I have been praying about what I need to do to confirm my so called “ideas” with you. God told me to read the full chapter of Ephesians 4. Starting in verse 2 through verse 6, it says “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all in all.” This is exactly what we’re shooting for here. To BRING BACK our unity of the Spirit. Let’s dissect each verse to get a better understanding of what we’re looking at.
First we look at where it talks about our actions towards each other. “Be completely humble and gentle…”. These are not easy aspects to truly grab hold of. One can easily say that they are humble and/or gentle, but what do those words really mean? According to the Webster’s dictionary, the word “humble” means not proud or haughty; not arrogant or assertive. It also means reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of submission; a ranking low in a hierarchy. So to be COMPLETELY humble, we have to set everyone else above us and not see ourselves as better than anyone else. Gentle means “free from harshness and violence.” I don’t necessarily think it’s referring to only physical harshness or violence, but verbally and mentally. We as believers need to realize that we are ALL on the same level. One very big reason that I have begun searching for more than a home church is because the attitude of the church has become very opposing towards each other. It’s supposed to be a group of people getting together to fellowship, encourage each other, and build up others in God, but instead you have a group of judgemental gossipers who put on a pretty face for the crowd. Now, I’m not saying I’m perfect. I definitely have my downfalls in the gossip and judgement areas, but at least I’m not pretending like I don’t. I’m still working on my humility and gentleness, but I’m just me. I’m not one person at church and another outside the doors. But, let’s get back on track…
“Be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Patience is probably one of the hardest things to practice simple because it is so easy to get caught up in ourselves. But when we start putting others before us, these other aspects come a little easier because your mind is getting geared towards doing what’s best to help the other person. The rest of the verses have what I want to mostly be focused on today. “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through peace”. This is where I feel that the body of Christ has begun to fail. There is unity within the churches, the groups of believers coming together, but the unity between those different churches has quietly begun to drift. As I talked about in an earlier post, the different denominations and religions are not in unity as one. There is too much differentiation between congregations due to a division of mindset. Each church has is own interpretation of what God is saying, and they have begun to add their own spin to things. Therefore, we have churches quietly fighting against each other, attempting to convert and carry over people from one denomination to another, and celebrating when someone “converts”. But if we look at what the bible is saying, to make EVERY effort to keep the UNITY of the Spirit in PEACE, we can see that this is the body’s downfall. We should be joining together simply as believers, putting all personal feelings and beliefs aside, making others more important that ourselves, and focusing on the one thing we all have in common which is God. We know this should be true because there is only ONE God, ONE Lord, and ONE faith. Not a separate one for each belief system.
Thus, why is it so hard for us to get along? Well, pride. It’s as simple as that. We have gotten so brainwashed into believing that our church is better than yours because… or that our religion is better than yours. It is a ridiculous and sad issue that can be resolved if we can all learn to ACTUALLY get along. I emphasize “actually” because every person of every religion will say that they are fine with other religions and they’re “just glad they’re in church”, but in reality, they praise God when a catholic becomes a christian, or a Mormon becomes a catholic. So, what I’m encouraging you is not to go try an make a bunch of friends from different religions so that you can be more religiously socialized, but to begin changing your mindset on what it is you need to do in order to serve God best. Begin finding out who you are in God instead of what your roll in the church is. For some, the best way that you can show God’s love and help others is to be in a church serving and mentally feeding others. But don’t let your “label” define your relationship with God. Let God show you what you need to be doing and not doing, and ask him how you can build a stronger relationship with other believers in AND outside of your church.