Life can be difficult. People can be more difficult. Even pastors and church workers can become difficult to deal with.
Have you ever had people zap the life out of you? Sometimes you just want to get away from them. But rather than pull back, Jesus wants us to push forward. Jesus said, ‘If you want to live, give your life away.‘ If you want to know about life, go to the Author of life. He invented it.
One of the last things Jesus did was to pray for His disciples. In John 17:20, His prayer included all who believe, including you and me. He prayed that all believers would have harmony and unity.
Jesus wants harmony. But we often choose conflict. Jesus wants us to be as close to each other as He is to His Father. That’s close! Jesus says if this happens, the world will believe who Jesus really is. Our unity will bring a lost world to God.
If there is conflict and fighting between Christians, do you think anybody will want to be part of it? Absolutely not. People are looking for peace, harmony, and acceptance.
So how can we have this harmony? Barry White, pastor of Park Valley Church near Washington DC, spoke about this topic at the 2017 meeting of the Baptist Bible Fellowship International at Seminole Baptist Church and sponsored by Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri.
Two principles will help with unity.
1 – Know your identity.
You are not anybody else. Now that seems obvious. But many people are a little embarrassed at who they are. We need be okay with our calling in life. God is.
When you’re not okay with your identity you begin to fear what others think and do. You live in fear.
Jeremiah was afraid he was too young. Moses was afraid he couldn’t speak. Gideon was just afraid. But God used each of them. As a matter of fact, God called Gideon ‘Mighty hero!’
“When God is with you, He will do through you something that lasts for eternity.” – Barry White
Sometimes we fear what others think and do. Sometimes we are more loyal to people who don’t like us, and neglect those who love us, like our family. But when you know who you are and what God wants you to do, all you have to worry about is making God happy.
“Living out of fear divides your family and divides churches.” – Barry White
2 – Love, not Envy.
Both love and envy cause you to see life through a particular lens. Envy condemns. Love has compassion. Once when Jesus saw a man with a withered hand, He had compassion. The Pharisees were envious.
People are going to be critical. It is easy to judge and condemn others. It’s easy to criticize. But if we would keep our negative mouth shut, it would solve a lot of problems.
Not only does fear divide us, but envy divides us. We should be able to celebrate the accomplishments and good in others without being critical.
I hope you will not fear others or be envious of others. You need to know who you are and what you are called to do. You need to love.
You can read the other posts about this meeting here: BBFI 2017