One Spirit and Purpose
Here we go again. I recommend any Facebook users to stay away for the next few days because the political banter is getting nasty, even amongst fellow believers. I’ve seen people on both sides throwing Scripture in each other’s faces like to prove their points on the health care issue. Just watch as this issue continues to divide churches, denominations and the country because “good Christian people” continue to resort to means of slander, gossip and anger. We’ll probably see 7 new Baptist churches get formed in the next few weeks (at least 3 of which will be in Central Texas) because people will leave over this issue.
I’m not trying to be pessimistic, but in my short lifetime I’ve seen the Church splinter more times than I can even count. Just off the top of my head I can think of issues such as abortion, homosexuality, Walt Disney boycotts, how to reach out to the sex industry in America, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Mexico border, and now health care as issues that have caused division amongst believers. I am not naïve enough to think that there should never be disagreement. In fact, you show me a couple that has never argued and I will show you a relationship that is extremely shallow. However, I see a perpetual cycle of fear gripping far too many followers of Christ, which is usually spawned by a decision the government makes.
So many Christians have bought into the idea that government can save and redeem us. Now we wouldn’t admit this out loud, but we practically believe it. This is why we hear cries to return to being a “Christian nation” in times of disagreement and unrest. We so quickly forget Paul’s words written to Christians living in a pagan nation when he says, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.” (Romans 13:1–3 NIV)
I do not believe that pacifism is the answer to all of our problems. Nor do I believe you should sit on the sidelines and keep your opinion to yourself. But, my question to you is why do you allow earthly circumstances to constantly produce fear within you? Do you take seriously 1 Peter 4:12-19? Do you truly believe that God has committed you as His follower to the ministry of reconciliation and not of division (2 Corinthians 5:19)? Why do we also so quickly forget that we are to have one glorious obsession, and that is Jesus Christ?
My vocation is to be a preacher, but no one wants a sermon on this issue right now. It’s too new and still extremely sensitive. So I will stop and pray that God will make His Church once again concerned with the ministry of reconciliation (which is part of our calling and “purpose” if you read 2 Corinthians correctly). I will also put forth Scripture and will ask you to sit with it as you respond to this “health care crisis.”
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:1–4 NIV)