Tag Archives: unity

Getting the Devil out of Our Churches

 

Getting the Devil out of Our Churches

By Carolyn Dale Newell

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!

Psalm 133:1 NKJV

After a long, difficult week, battling the world, we eagerly gather at church on Sunday for a time of refreshing worship. Is it the one day you look forward to in anticipation of peace and love among brothers and sisters? While the church can be a haven from the outside world, we must guard this slice of heaven on earth.

As Jews journeyed to Jerusalem annually for their various feasts, they sang the Psalms known as the songs of ascent. David penned Psalm 133 describing the blessedness of unity and brotherly love they would enjoy during their feasts.

In His High Priestly prayer, Jesus prayed for believers to be one, like the Father and Son are one (John 17:11, 21). Not just once, but twice signifying the weight unity carries with Christ.

Looking at churches today, that may seem impossible. Individual bodies of believers are sometimes characterized by discord. Quarrels pop up about everything from the color of the draperies to who gets to sing the solo.

David described unity as good and pleasant to God and man. The undivided church stands out. The anointing oil used in the Old Testament to set Aaron apart as high priest consisted of fragrant herbs created by God. The oil was poured out abundantly upon Aaron, dripping from his beard to the hem of his garment. Anyone nearby noticed the aroma, just like people take notice of a body of harmonious Christians.

The anointing oil had sanctifying purposes. Likewise, the church perfumed by love will be holy. Not perfect, but further down the path of sanctification than the church fractured by schisms.

Though the blessings of unification can be abundant like the dew drops on the mountains of Israel, the enemy knows his time is ending. the church has a bull’s eye on its back. Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). He seeks whom he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8).

Let’s face it. Sometimes, we may his job easy for him. Our feelings get hurt because someone did not speak. The pastor didn’t shake my hand. I always get stuck in the nursery.

The cliques within a church reveal the handiwork of the enemy. Remember the old cliché: “United, we stand and divided, we fall?”

Once Slew foot gets his foot in the door, he builds a stronghold. But our spiritual weapons are mighty in pulling down strongholds. Weapons such as prayer and the sword of the Spirit, our Bibles.

Once we take our eyes off ourselves and begin to love one another, the enemy will lose his grip. We must see beyond our needs and meet the needs of others. Step out of our comfort zones and shake hands with people across the aisle. The enemy tears down, but God builds up.

A church living in unison will provide a peaceful place to spend our day of rest. It will be blessed by the Lord. But it will kick the enemy to the curb, where he belongs.

Lord, thank You for our churches and the freedom to worship. Help me show love equally to everyone in our church. Remove the enemy from our times of worship. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DIG DEEPER

Read Psalm 133.

HIKING THE TRAIL

Who are the people in your church that you don’t normally get around to say hello? Go to them Sunday. Call or text someone this week that you don’t normally contact and encourage them. Facebook Messenger is great for a personal word of encouragement.

Copyright 2019 Carolyn Dale Newell.

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Becoming More Like Christ

Becoming More Like Christ

By Carolyn Dale Newell

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,

Philippians 2:5 NKJV

The desire of every Christian should be to become more like Christ. Is that realistic? Jesus was perfect and without sin. How can we pattern our lives after Christ while still living on earth?

We can have the mindset of Jesus. Yes, with the Holy Spirit indwelling us, we can achieve it. Christ thought of others before He thought of Himself. He put us first. That is what Paul explains in Philippians chapter two.

Beginning with verse one, Paul tells believers we have been encouraged by the Lord. In the Greek, the “consolation of His love” refers to Jesus coming close and whispering hope to us.

Then Paul speaks of our fellowship with the Holy Spirit. The same Holy Spirit dwells in all believers. Therefore, there should be unity.

When churches become fractured, it quenches and grieves the Spirit. Cliques only serve to weaken a church.

Paul continues in verse 2:

fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

This is our to-do list that will transform us from self-centered to other-centered and unite the body of Christ.

Like minded is equivalent to right thinking and having the same mind. The same love refers to loving others equally, not preferring some above others and especially not putting ourselves before them either. One accord denotes selflessness. One mind is intent on the same thing.

Next, Paul tells us about our wrong attitudes, the ones we need to put to death.

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. (Phil. 2:3)

Self is at the center of every sin. Paul is referring to seeking to serve self and self-glorification.

Our focal verse is a command, but it is an action we must choose. The Holy Spirit convicted me as I studied this chapter. I am seeking God’s guidance as I choose to have a servant’s mentality.

I challenge you to do likewise. You can take a giant step in becoming more Christlike when you humbly decide to think of someone else before yourself. What would our churches be like if we were all concerned about others more? When we take care of others, God takes care of us. If we all sought the good of another person, we would embrace the joy Paul wrote about. How would our communities’ benefit if all Christians sought to meet the needs of someone else?

It begins with one person. We cannot make decisions for anyone else, but I encourage you to join me and one-by-one we will make a difference.

Lord Jesus, we long to be more like You. Remove our selfishness and replace it with selflessness. Give us opportunities to meet the needs of someone else. In Jesus’ name, Amen

DIG DEEPER

Read Philippians 2:1-11.

HIKING THE TRAIL

What is one thing you can do today to put the needs of another before yourself?

Copyright 2019 Carolyn Dale Newell.