It’s a Sunday morning. The church doors are open and sweet singing can be heard.
Greeters are greeting. People are smiling and hot coffee is flowing.
Something else is also happening. The deceiver is busy.
Why do we let Satan have free reign among the body of Christ?
Why are we so ignorant of his schemes?
It’s as if he walks right in on a Sunday morning and camps out for the whole week. He has a complete agenda in mind.
If we could see into the spiritual realm, picture Satan browsing among the body of believers with a latte in hand.
He’s even so bold as to wear a nametag!
Unforgiveness, disgruntled feelings, gossip, disappointment, pride, disagreements over how things are done…or not done, unmet expectations from a Pastor that turn into a license to remind others that they’ve been let down, the list goes on and on. But the list is always the same it doesn’t matter what church you go to.
Satan destroys the church from within. He doesn’t need to bring in any “bad” people.
Jesus loving folks will work just fine.
His mission: to tear apart the local body of believers using……believers.
He’s sly and subtle but his tactics are vintage. They’ve been around forever.
FEAR – LIES – PRIDE
Hours before Jesus is arrested and then crucified, He prays for us. John chapter 17 records his fervent and intense prayers as He asks the Father to protect us in the area of unity, to help us be one.
Interesting that these are some of his last words.
He also prayed that the Father would protect us from the evil one. Hmmmm? It’s almost as if Jesus knew the enemy would be continually at work among the body.
The devil is busier in the body of Christ than in the world.
For every congregation that falls apart, suffers small rips and tears, the enemy does a victory dance.
The longer it takes for us to get our act together the more time we give Satan to keep destroying.
Picture the SORRY game….God uses us despite our flesh and mistakes but every time we let the enemy take back some ground, it’s like 5 spaces forward, 3 steps back. How God gets anything accomplished through us is truly a miracle. No really it is, because we’re so influenced by our flesh that we fail to remember the grace that we’ve received. If we did we would be quicker to forgive and love. Instead, we fall victim to the schemes of the enemy completely unaware.
What would happen if we stayed and prayed instead of explaining why we need to find another church family?
Imagine if bodies stayed together – through prayers, fasting and forgiveness. The world would look at Christians and go, WOW that’s real.
LOVE and FORGIVE NESS– that’s what sets us apart from the world.
The church is made up of imperfect people, including the pastor. We say this over and over, but when the rubber meets the road, do we ACT like we believe this? Do we choose to forgive and move forward….. or do we move onward?
Here’s my bottom line.
I know God will always honor and protect us when we choose love and forgiveness.
Pray and stand and don’t worry about the rest. God is in control and He will work things out.
Sometimes He may tell you to leave. Most of the time He will not.
Why don’t we stay and tell the enemy to leave? Probably because we fail to recognize how he works.
Remember those neighborhoods that used to be nice….but then people start moving out for various reasons and darkness begins to take over. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
It provides validation that it was the right thing to do, to leave, when in fact the leaving brought the darkness.
Will you stand and protect your local body?
Will you pray for unity?
Will you pray for wisdom and discernment?
Will you pray like Jesus did, that the Father would make us one.
Let’s not give Satan any kind of platform in our churches……..or a latte for that matter.
Till the next time,
“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.” – Jesus
A more eloquent summary from the Holman Bible Handbook:
“Some divisions and controversies are necessary and unavoidable. The purification of the church is as insistent a theme as the unity of the church. Jesus Himself said that He came not bearing peace but a sword. What He meant was that the truth of God can never be neutral, but it divides truth from that which is false by its very nature. Jesus’ plea for unity has to do more with the petty controversies and bitter divisions that often plague relationships. The love that binds Christians together should overcome all such grievances, demonstrating to the world that the people of God are unique and unprecedented in their fellowship, drawing the nonbelieving world to faith in Christ.”