Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The "Divide And Conquer" Tactic Of The Enemy Is Working Well Against The Church

One of the indicators of spiritual immaturity is division, when Christians have a disagreement that they refuse to resolve. Disagreements usually happen when there are two differing opinions on a matter and neither side is willing to consider the opposing argument. Differences are normal and natural with any group of people, but division due to differences is not. How we resolve our differences indicates our level of maturity.

As followers of Jesus our first priority in our service in this place is people. Above our preferences, opinions, thoughts and ideas comes the love and care for other people. So in all discussions we should be able to take the time to consider the other person's perspective. If they are in error we should be able to gently lead them into the truth of the matter with a sound argument. If our argument is not sound we should delay the discussion until we have all the supporting evidence. If they are too immature to have a proper discussion we should set the matter aside. However, if we are wrong in the matter, we should love that person enough to admit it. It is not a thing of pride. There is no pride in love.

Immaturity needs to be right all the time. It doesn't matter how the argument is damaging our relationship with the other person, being right is what matters the most. We may be so caught up in the effort to prove we are right that we may not even see what it is doing to the other person. We may even be right but we are wrong in what we are doing. There cannot be division in the Body of Christ:

In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. (1 Corinthians 11:17-19)

We should keep in mind that Paul is writing this to the church in Corinth which was a city just south of Athens. Their pastime was discovering and debating new ideas and philosophies. Debates were as common as street hockey is in Canada. But the Church does not function like that. It is not a place to sit around and discuss new ideas, to debate and to prove or disprove in the manner of the world. The Church is an odd place where people of all different backgrounds come together to be as one in our service to Jesus. Unity is highly important for the advancement of God's Kingdom.

Have you ever noticed how the Jews are seen as a people, how the Muslims are seen as a people but Christians are seen as a religion? It is something to ponder as we consider the prayer of Jesus:

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:20-23)

That's you and me Jesus is praying for there. We have failed in this because we have failed to understand that our spiritual journey is not about self-discovery but Christ-discovery. It is about growing up, gaining greater revelation of the Word, of seeing that revelation come through in our actions and words. It is about discovering every day new depths of the love of God which translates into our love for people. It is a growing away from a ego-centered life to a Christ-centered life which brings other people into focus for us. It is gaining a true revelation of "consider others better than yourselves". (Phil 2:3) It is a process just as our natural bodies go through a process of growth. But it is a progress forward, not a stagnation in what little knowledge we gain.

There is no place for division in the Body of Christ and where there is division there is death. Where there is division there is immaturity. Where there is division there needs to be repentance and reconciliation. Division goes against the very nature of God who paid the greatest price for the reconciliation of man to himself. Now that he has paid that price he expects us to pay the price of humility to allow for unity among his children.

We can argue about it all we want but division is the direct result of immaturity and it grieves the heart of the Father. Let's deal with it in our own lives.


Lizzie said...

Dividing a family is the best way to tear them apart, same goes with a church. They must stay together to stay strong.

Brandon said...

There will always be trouble at all times. We need to be strong and stand up and push through it. God will help us at any time. He will not solve the problem and make it go away. Instead whenever we fall down he will help us up and tell us to keep going.