“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
There is a love so deep, so incredibly deep, one that bore my lashes, had spikes pound through His hands and feet, was spat in the face, ridiculed, beaten and tortured so severely that it makes the Taliban and Guantanamo bay look like mere flies buzzing around your face. All of this was love, love that suffered so deeply and severely for each one of us. Not only did He bear physical pain, but also the terrible burden of all of our sin. I know the burdens of my own sin can be terrible, I cannot imagine what my Savior went through for me. All I know is that I am experiencing His incredible love, and what else can I do other than serve Him will all I am?
Since Jesus loved us so powerfully, how can we ignore showing that same love to everyone else just as He has? He looked out at Jerusalem and wept, because He knew what was in the hearts of those people. Yet He still took the lashes, was beaten and disdained and died a slow painful death on the cross for those very people’s hearts whom He knew all too well. I am trying to give a small glimpse, a nugget if you will, of His incredible love for us. Jesus wasn’t kidding that those are the greatest commandments, because as He said everything is based of those two commandments. Not only did His love was away sin, but it enabled us to function as one under His love. Can you imagine loving someone so much, even though they constantly cut you down, insult you, and even going to physical lengths to get to you, that you would still willingly suffer punishment and death for their cause? Can you imagine going to such lengths for billions of people just like that? It begins to give you a picture of such a love that was willing to crawl onto the cross, exhausted and bleeding, to suffer and die a shameful death for us. That is the kind of love that unites. That is the kind of love that will mend people’s hearts and bring them joy. It’s the kind of love that repairs broken homes and relationships. It’s the kind of love that will unite the Body as one.
How can we think otherwise? How can we think that fighting will promote unity? Isn’t what Jesus said true? A house divided against itself cannot stand. How many churches and bodies of believers do you know that are struggling and getting caught up in worldly matters? Do we not realize that what lies at the root of all of this is our lack of love? We cannot and will not show love when we are arguing about whether aliens exist, about possibilities about end times, and other nonsense that just wastes time and causes our brothers to stumble and the world to laugh. Why does that matter? Does it pertain to your salvation, or does the problem lie in your pride to try to figure it out and argue your point? Are you glorifying God and furthering His kingdom by debating with someone who will never understand the true Word of God unless they want to? I think it is time we shift our priorities from petty things to furthering God’s kingdom, being blown by the Spirit wherever He leads instead of being focused on small things that at the time seem so important.
Have we neglected to see the importance of Christ’s death? We grow up in a country where we can hear that He died for our sins every day, and a lot of the time in some form we do. We have grown so numb to the grandeur of His love for us. We lack the reverence and understanding of the level of sacrifice that He has undergone for us. This is the level so high that we cannot attain, but we treat it as it occurring every day. How can something so life shaking and faith changing become so common and misunderstood? We forget to preach the very thing we see so common. We preach and teach on so many things (and not all are bad), yet our breath just goes into the wind if we do not preach the very one Whom we owe the credit to even be existing at that very moment! Where are we without Jesus? We aren’t. The world should know and understand that too, as well as the unteached in the church. The world cannot understand our morals and why we believe what we believe without first understanding what Jesus has done. Some may never understand, but we still cannot preach Jesus to those who are waiting to hear His name. That is what the body of Christ is for – to teach the world about Jesus while building each other in love and then showing that same love back to the world. And so the cycle will continue until Jesus returns in power and glory.
We are called to have a childlike faith, yet to be filled with the wisdom and knowledge of God. We are to know our stuff. I cannot claim to weed out specifics other than what is obvious. What I can tell you to do is to reexamine your priorities and what you are striving for. Ask those questions I asked above, and seek for the wisdom of God (James 1:5-8). God is faithful and He will show you where you need to focus. Of course, it should always be on Him, but He will show you how to apply it in the smaller areas of your life where I am not qualified to speak about.
I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
1 Corinthians 1:10-13
What is said above speaks for itself. I think we know where we are failing. We should. We can see that in any typical town with more than one church. We not only have the ‘world’, Satan and his demons, our sin (God forbid), the sin of others, persecutions, trials, hardships, and poverty on our shoulders, but we also have ourselves as our own enemy. We berate and beat each other down for the sake of an ideology about a certain theology. We come to hate each other because of a difference in OUR ideas about the very Word of God whom we are supposed to love. Is hate supposed to come out of such a thing? As Paul says, may it never be! The Word of God is supposed to unite us, but when we take it into our own gritty hands with pride and selfishness WE cause the divisions.
Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”
2 Timothy 2:14-19
Scripture is very clear on something that we tend to ignore, even resent. We not only lack unity, but the Love that is the perfect bond of unity. Perfect love casts out all fears, so when we love each other perfectly within the body we don’t have to worry about others badmouthing us, gossiping, or any of the matter. Out of love and reverence for our Savior we should hold our tongues for the sake of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.
1 Timothy 1:3-8
We are desecrating and spitting in the Lord’s face for all to see by our public display of division and outright sin to the world. Yet, in the midst of this we can’t forget that we are still the perfect Bride of Christ. We are His, and He loves us. He will get His will accomplished, whether we are truly functioning as a body or not. We are grieving Him yes, but this should inspire us to live in such a way that we are a joy to God. We can be so much better than we are, if only we took action in our own lives to be perfected through Christ. He is there, willing and waiting.
I highly encourage you to also read 1 Corinthians 12-13 in their entireties.