Work for unity
During the first century, cities like Rome attracted people from many different cultures, languages, religions, and customs. Consequently the early church’s mission to ‘make disciples of all the nations’ (take a look at Matthew 28:19) sometimes led to conflict and confusion. For example, they argued about which day of the week was the most holy, and what they could or couldn’t eat. It’s the reason Paul wrote, ‘Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue…about what they think is right or wrong.’ He didn’t tell us to just tolerate or put up with them, but to ‘accept’, welcome, receive, acknowledge, and make allowances for those who aren’t the same as us. Even though the issues we deal with today are different from those of the early church, it’s easy to become divisive and judgmental. But remember, ‘Each of us will give a personal account to God. So let’s stop condemning each other…instead…live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble’ (Romans 14:12-13 NLT). When genuine differences come up on fundamental issues and we can’t negotiate, we need to behave in a Christlike way without picking fights, criticising, or looking down on people. Satan’s goal is to sidetrack us into arguments and tension which means God’s kingdom suffers. Instead the Bible tells us to ‘Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves’ (Romans 12:10 NIVUK). We need to learn to respect other believers not because of who they are, but Whose they are. Paul writes, ‘May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify…God’ (Romans 15:5-6 NIV).
Next time you find yourself in a disagreement over beliefs, take a minute to ask God to help you respond in a godly way.
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