Most of us have strong opinions about certain issues. While some of us are more animated when we are perched on our soapboxes, I have yet to meet anyone that had no opinion ever. Right now, I feel strongly about some issues in our country. But I realize that just as strongly as I feel about some things, someone else has a completely different issue that stirs up their passionate feelings. This can certainly be ugly in politics. It’s even worse when the body of Christ, which is supposed to be known for love and unity, approaches differences with a hostile and competitive spirit.
The bible compares the Church of Jesus to a marriage (Eph, 5, 2 Cor 11, Rev 19). Since I have been reminding myself lately what the Bible teaches about community within a church, I couldn’t help but think about the connection when I read an article regarding humility within the marriage relationship. Very little else can bring about such deep and lasting feelings as marriage disagreements. These kinds of feelings can also rise up among members of the family of God.
We are given some principles throughout the New Testament of how to function as the body of Christ. As in a healthy marriage, each of us loving and serving one another is vital to a church’s health. Mutual (voluntary) submission in every area is necessary for a church to thrive. The bible gives clear direction on the posture of our hearts…
The younger ones should not disregard or disrespect the older nor should those who are older look down on the young (1 Tim 4-5).
The leaders should lead in humility and integrity. The members should respond with eagerness and joy.
Spiritual gifts, personal talents, life experience and youthful zeal must all be valued.
Every ethnicity, every age, each gender, those who are highly educated and those not, those with less and those with more… everyone who is connected through the blood of Jesus is included in the church’s ministry and purpose.
Church health more often than not comes down to our individual attitudes towards one another. We have to decide if we are willing to be the one who surrenders our rights/wants so that God’s glory is not hindered or hidden. In the article I mentioned earlier, the wife shares something that her husband eventually said:
“You know, if you want to win, you’re on a roll. If you want the best solution, one we can both support, we need to slow this down and really listen to one another.” She went on to say that “part of what we realize is, if there’s a winner, there’s a loser. I don’t want to be married to a loser. If that’s the goal, we’re in trouble.”
A healthy church like a healthy marriage, is made up of people who are genuinely FOR each other and are FOR the glory of God. We should be centered around one goal – more and better worshippers. When we see things from the perspective of winning/losing, “we’re in trouble”. Submitting to one another out of mutual affection, and for the sake of the gospel, is the only way for God’s church to really win.
Because there’s much at stake if we lose.