While sitting on the porch overlooking the lake, I listen to the quiet voices of my grandchildren, and all is right with the world. Occasionally there is a flare up, but the disagreement is quickly resolved and they continue playing. If only we would become like little children; loving, forgiving and trusting. Unfortunately, as we become sophisticated in our approach to life we often grow dogmatic insisting we are right and keeping an account of the wrongs done to us.
When being right becomes more important than God-appointed relationships, strife strikes!
The Bible tells us “He who is of a greedy spirit stirs up strife, but he who puts his trust in the Lord shall be enriched and blessed” (Proverbs 28:25). A greedy spirit filled with envy insists on having everything its way at the expense of others. Everywhere he goes, from one church to another, if possible he stirs up strife, trying to convince others that he is right.
Strife is the most devastating disease in the world. It is a cancer that destroys relationships, causes wars, divorce and church splits. Where there is strife there is confusion and every evil work. How sad when this disease develops in a family and in the church causing discord and division. The cure for this is learning to trust God. When you trust Him you can risk loving others. God will keep you in perfect peace when you put your trust in Him.
Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us how we are to live with one another in a local church. It says:
“Let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities, Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching.”
Love is the factor; the unconditional God-kind of love has been the missing ingredient in the Church. Loving God and loving others even as we love ourselves is the royal law that displaces and uproots greed, selfishness and self-centeredness. Loving God and loving others is the way we will win the world to Christ (see John 17 20-26).
In Romans 15 the Bible tells us how to bring the love factor into our relationships: Now may the God Who gives the power of patient endurance (steadfastness) and Who supplies encouragement, grant you to live in such mutual harmony and such full sympathy with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may [unanimously] with united hearts and one voice, praise and glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah). Welcome andand received you, for the glory of God.
Only then will others know we belong to Jesus and that God loves them as much as He loves Jesus. “Love one another as I have loved you,” He said. “By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples.”
We are family. So, let’s work together and play together, preferring one another! Let’s be loving, trusting and forgiving. Let’s be like little children—God’s children.
Copyright © Germaine Copeland 2006