Hey friends, this is not my usual post. I know in advance that some of you may walk away. And yet it’s important that we have sacred space to talk about what’s happening with our faith right now.
We’ve gotten a little lost.
As I search God’s word, as I pray and listen for him, I sense God asking us to remember who we are. To remember his mission. To remember why we call ourselves Jesus followers, and what it means to reflect Jesus in every aspect of our lives.
To remember that commandment to love him with our heart, soul, strength, and also to love each other like he loves us.
There’s a mass exodus from faith right now and that’s worth noting. As we hold on to our debates and our “I’m right and you must be wrong” conversations, a generation of people raised in the church are saying, “Is this Jesus?” When the answer feels like a hard no, they do one of two things. They start to deconstruct their faith — taking it apart to find Jesus at the center. Or they simply walk away, confused, angry, wondering if everything we ever said to them was true or not.
And those who were not raised in the church? They are looking in and saying, “if this is Jesus, then I don’t want any part of it.”
We play a role in that.
So, is there an answer?
There is. Jesus talked about the beauty and power of unity. Later, Paul shared some of those same thoughts.
Just one thing, Paul said. As citizens of heaven, live your life worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, in one accord, contending together for the faith of the gospel. Philippians 1:27
It’s time to move toward each other again — to rediscover what it means to stand firm in one spirit, in one accord, fighting together with the the one goal being the gospel shared, spread, and changing the world.
I’m speaking these words today over my heart just as much as I am yours.
Where do we begin?
- We put our eyes back on Jesus.
His words. His teaching. His heart for the world. His command to love God with all our heart and soul, and then to love each other as he loved us.
We can only do this as we take our eyes off a person, a meme, a theory, the need to be right, those people who agree with you, that anger or cynicism or frustration you feel, and put them back on him.
- We put down anything that doesn’t look like Jesus, sound like Jesus.
That vitriol meme, that comment, lashing out, that pointed finger, those divisive words. . . those don’t reflect Christ. And if we are honest, they don’t change the world. They just stir up more debate.
We are brave enough and wise enough to walk away from fights that lead to nowhere.
This frees us to come alongside those who are hurting, who are oppressed, to actually create change rather than just talk about it. It challenges us to put our time, our giftings, our words in places that minister to the people we are fighting for.
And when we speak up, we do so out of a place of prayer, a heart for unity, a heart for people — all people.
- We choose people first, then the issue
I know you care about that issue.
But that issue is really about people — the ones Jesus said he came to rescue. (Just like he came to rescue me and you.) So we care about that issue, and yet never take our eyes off of people — the people you are fighting for, the people who are hearing that message, the people who are watching and learning about faith from you (and you may never know they are watching).
We choose unity prayerfully, even as we see things different.
We work together on those things that matter so much, because that’s what Jesus called us to do. To speak out — together. To defend the widow, the those in need, those oppressed, those broken-hearted, those unseen — together. We start with prayer and continue with prayer. We speak out as the Holy Spirit leads (and he will), but with the power and anointing and humility and servant-hearted. We will not be afraid to fight hard for each other, instead of against each other.
Maybe this feels impossible right now, but scripture says it’s not only possible, it’s how we change the world in his name.
Come back to me.
So, what is our response?
No resources today, except this:
- Read Philippians 1
Q: Why was Paul encouraged?
Q: What was his main focus?
Q: What does this speak to you today?
Pray for unity and community (prayer is powerful and effective)