If I were your enemy, I’d work to create division between you and other Christians, between groups of Christians, anyone with the potential for uniting in battle against me and my plans. I’d keep you operating individually, not seeing your need for the church or tying yourself too closely on its mission. Strength in numbers and unity of purpose…I would allow things like these to go unchecked.
I’ve got to confess, this might have been the most difficult part of this study to write about. If you’ve been here long, then you might remember a series of posts that I wrote about this time last year that kind of went viral for a bit. And…are the backbone of my first book. The one that seemed to strike a nerve with most people was the post that I wrote about why I didn’t want to be “Christian” anymore. Ironically, this feeling and thought process seemed to resonate with a lot of people. Turns out there are bunch of people who have been burned and hurt by the churches.
For a while, I thought that it was only me. Maybe it was something I was doing or something that I was over-thinking (I tend to do that, you know). But as the post started to gain traction and people started to email and comment, I realized that I am most definitely not the only one. First and foremost I think we have to point out the elephant in the room before we go any further…
The modern day American church is NOT at all what God intended when he wrote about the church as His bride.
There. I said it. Now we can move on. There is so much that I could go into one that subject, but for the sake of saving content for my book, I’ll just let you linger over that last sentence for a while.
What did stand out to me in this chapter was the obvious ways in which the enemy is attacking our relationships. We already touched on this some a few posts ago about how he is and has been brutally attacking and sabotaging the family dynamic in the last few years. Yet it is so important to realize that he is doing the same thing within the confines of our closest friends…our tribe.
I can’t count how many friendships I have seen slip away over petty disagreements and misunderstandings over the years. Being a military family, it’s easy to blame the distance on the fact that friendships end. However, I’ve learned that the truth of it is that when you aren’t doing life with someone daily-having dinner, visiting every few days, etc.- you tend to notice things that were always there but you never felt the need to address. We let Facebook posts and comments that were most likely meaningless take root and eventually from that bitterness forms until you end up not speaking anymore at all. All with the intention of creating distance between us.
It’s okay to not always agree with people or their choices. Distancing ourselves, however, when things aren’t “just like we want it” or when we don’t see eye to eye on something, isn’t the best reaction or response. There are going to be times in our lives when we don’t agree with those we love…that’s just part of it. I don’t know why we tend to expect disagreements within the confines of our own homes, but disagreements between the friends that we don’t live with and don’t spend constant amounts of time with are not supposed to happen. I’ve come to believe that long distance friendship isn’t even immune to this. Because at the end of the day we are all still human. And we are all different.
I dare admit that there are days when I look forward to someone cancelling plans with me. Especially if those plans fall in the middle of the day. I’m already up and going first thing in the morning since we do the school thing now, but by the time I do breakfast and drop off and get started with my work day, I don’t really have any desire to a) leave home in the middle of the day and interrupt the work mojo I’ve got going or b) have to get out and go do something when the work day has ended.
Yes. I’m aware that that makes me sound very selfish and I’m praying fervently (see what I did there?) that the good Lord helps me to overcome that.
Nonetheless, I’m also seeing that this kind of thing…this kind of selfishness…this sense of my day matters more than the going-on’s of someone else? That’s a spot on attack by our enemy. See if he can make me or you self-involved, he can keep us from lifting up someone else, encouraging another brother or sister in Christ who needs it, or keep us from spreading the gospel all together.
Our sense of selfishness and the idea of “what about me” makes us ineffective for the Kingdom of God.
When we care more about our own doings and our own little world than we do about the world out there outside of our windows, we’ve achieved exactly what the enemy was trying to accomplish…Spiritual isolation. With that he ensures that no one else is going to hear the good news. With every broken friendship and relationship, he separates us even more from the true vision that God had for the “church.”
And when that breaks down? The great commission breaks down with it.
We are nearing the end of this Study! I’ve been praying over what to go forward with next and wanted YOUR opinion! I’ve narrowed it down to two books: Restless by Jennie Allen or Spiritual Warfare for Women by Leighann McCoy. Leave a comment below and let me know which one you’d like to dive into next! [PS- I promise this time we will keep with schedule. 😉 ]