We had a guest minister this past Sunday (thank you for the wonderful message, Bro. Brian) who preached a 2-part series about faith, which is always a great subject, but today I want to talk about two different areas he brought up which the Lord placed on my heart.
The first is that of yielding ourselves. Although he discussed several areas, including yielding to faith; yielding to God, His Word, and His will; and yielding to the Holy Spirit, the one I feel led to share with you today is yielding to one another. The second is coming together in unity, so that we may accomplish more together for our Heavenly Father and His glory.
Oftentimes, we let pride sneak in when we come up against someone with a differing opinion or viewpoint, and rather than simply ‘agreeing to disagree’ or giving them scriptural support and praying for them, we feel the need to correct them at all costs. Now, I know the scripture says that we should correct our brothers and sisters, and there are many scriptures that back this up. Matthew 18:15-17 is often used as a guide for how to deal with disputes between church members. But the Bible is clear that there is a way to correct someone without letting pride or anger sweep you away and lead you to say or do something that is not beneficial to you or the person with whom you disagree, rather that person is a member of your local church body or someone on social media. And Paul reminds us, in 2 Corinthians 2:7-8 that, even after correcting someone in the faith, we should forgive, comfort, and confirm our love for them.
Paul tells us in Galatians 6:1, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” The word ‘meekness’ comes from the Greek word ‘praeis’ and refers to mildness, gentleness of spirit, or humility. Meekness is humility before God and others; it is having the ability or right to do something, but not doing so because refraining from it will benefit someone else. Paul also says, in Ephesians 4:1-2, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.” The word ‘forbear’ means to “refrain; hold back; to be patient or self-controlled when subject to annoyance or provocation”.
In 2 Timothy 4:2, we read, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” Here again we come to the way in which we should share God’s truths; we should have self-restraint and be merciful to one another, rather than giving in to frustration and anger. Longsuffering means to be slow to anger, just as our Heavenly Father is longsuffering with us. Psalm 103:8 reminds us, “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” This is how we should act toward others, rather than letting them feel our wrath because we disagree.
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, in chapter 4, continues after the verses I used above, with verses 3-6, “Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above you all, and through all, and in you all.” We as Christians need to stand together, united against a world filled with hate and strife, and be the light we are called to be (Matthew 5:14-16), rather than fighting and arguing, causing dissension among the saints.
Romans 15:1-7 tells us, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, ‘The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.’ For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant ye to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.” Rather than allowing disputes to divide us, we as the children of God need to draw closer in unity, helping one another rather than arguing and insulting, and belittling those who are still learning and growing in their faith.
As we begin our walk with Christ, we should, as we learn in 1 Peter 2:2-3, “As newborn babes,desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” As we mature in God’s word, we should better understand God’s will for our lives. Hebrews 5:13-14 tells us, “For everyone that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” No matter what stage a person is at in their growth with Christ, from doubt to searching, from early acceptance to strong faith, we all deserve to be treated with respect, and shown the love that should be the hallmark of every Christian.
Paul tells us, continuing in Ephesians 4, that we are each given different roles as a member of God’s household, and in verses 12-15, that it is “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we henceforth no more be children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” So rather than tear others down, using our knowledge of the Holy Scriptures in a negative way, let us encourage one another to seek the truth found in God’s Word, and lift one another up as we grow, and learn, and teach one another, so that we are a unified force against the darkness that threatens this world.
Let us continue to yield to one another in love, so that we might be unified together in Christ. There is no joy in seeing someone brought low, and there should be no joy in being the one that causes another to falter or fail. Instead, let us love one another as we are told repeatedly throughout the Bible, living in such a way that others see God through the way we live our lives. And remember the words of Paul in Ephesians 4:29-32, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
Grace and blessings on your path,
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