21 Days Down, 19 Days to Go!
Today’s posts moves further away from “I” into the land of “We” and “Us” as it discusses the importance of the unity of the church. Frankly, Rev. Warren expresses that idea is so important that it is our job:
It is your job to protect the unity of your church. Unity in the church is so important that the New Testament gives more attention to it than to either heaven or hell. God deeply desires that we experience oneness and harmony with each other. Unity is the soul of fellowship.
There are two additional things I want to share from this chapter.
The first is some encouragement from the book:
Once you discover what God intends real fellowship to be, it is easy to become discouraged by the gap between the ideal and the real in your church. Yet we must passionately love the church in spite of its imperfections. Longing for the ideal while criticizing the real is evidence of immaturity. On the other hand, settling for the real without striving for the ideal is complacency. Maturity is living with tension. Other believers will disappoint you and let you down, but that is no excuse to stop fellowshipping with them. They are your family, even when they don’t act like it, and you can’t just walk out on them.
The second is a reflection on what happens to an individual when they judge another individual:
Whenever I judge another believer, four things instantly happen: I lose fellowship with God, I expose my own pride and insecurity, I set myself up to be judged by God, and I harm the fellowship of the church. A critical spirit is a costly vice.
Disunity does more than disconnect you from your local church it disconnects you from God! This is something that definitely has me thinking about how I can improve even the good relationships I have in my church and with believers outside of my church. My goodness! I have worked too hard on my faith and my relationship with God to let my human feelings “jack” things up 😦
An extension of this that also connects from Day 19 to today is the role of gossip in the hinderance of unity in the church. In the video that comes with the most recent version of this book, Rev. Warren reminds us that God hates gossip and also shares that its not just direct gossip sharing that is the fault. If you listen to gossip you are encouraging it and thus you are part of the problem of gossip even when you just listen to it and even if you never share it with another person.
This chapter gives steps as you read on how to maintain the unity of the church via your local church. And like I briefly stated above, while reading these steps I was reminded of things that I do well in this area as well as a few things I can work on to do better with unity in my church. And these thoughts connect to today’s Question to Consider which is, “What am I personally doing to protect unity in my church family right now?”
I try to greet visitors each week during our hug and greet time because that was probably the thing that made me join my church so early. I had gotten so many hugs on that first visit and after two months of Grad School it felt so good that I confirmed that my church was the place I wanted to stay and learn and grow. I also pray for my pastors and elders as often as I can remember. I feel that they do so much and that I receive so much that this is one small way that I can pay them back. I would give them a million dollars if I had it but until then I guess I can work on a million prayers.
Have a blessed day!