It is a Sunday morning in the tides. The weather report says the heat index will rise above 100 today, so I might try to get people to go to the beach with me later. I slept very little last night, but I will go to church anyway.
My mind and spirit have been troubled by some disagreement going on at the church. There always seems to be some kind of drama in church, no matter where you go. I suppose that’s because people are involved, believers who are in various states of maturity and process in God. I would rather have a somewhat messy experience accompanied by growth than a perfectly sanitary, safe experience that is dead. Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox. – Proverbs 14:4
One thing that really bothers me about church as a whole is how so many folks don’t seem to understand the difference between large, central truths of righteousness and faith, and smaller, incidental points of varying doctrinal murkiness. They’ll start a fight and take up arms over almost anything. There is precious little love, mercy, understanding, forbearance or forgiveness in the family of God. They’ll slay a brother or sister in Christ the same way Stonewall Jackson’s men described him: “He’d kill a man at the drop of a hat, and he’d drop it himself.” So many people are completely unafraid to commit the sins of Cain, Saul and Uzzah.
I was that way also, in my zealous youth: a pugilist for righteousness, a defender of God and truth. Somewhere I realized that I don’t need to defend God — or any point of truth — where another believer is concerned. I don’t mean that we should cease to speak the truth (in LOVE – very important there), but that God can defend Himself, and it is the Holy Spirit who brings revelation and quickening life. He is the Teacher. We can tell people the truth but we can’t twist their arms to make them believe it — God won’t bless that, because the free will choice is His idea. It is very freeing when you realize that God doesn’t expect you to save the world, or even the church.
I wonder what the Lord thinks about the situation down here? I wonder what He will have to do to bring unity to the Body of Christ, since we are so often unwilling to walk with one another?
Here’s a little snippet from Tozer:
Concentrating on Things that Really Matter
In the Christian life also we find this pattern repeated: a few important things and a world of burdensome but unimportant ones. The Spirit-taught Christian must look past the multiplicity of incidental things and find the few that really matter. And let it be repeated for our encouragement, they are few in number and surprisingly easy to identify. The Scriptures make perfectly clear what they are: the fact of God, the Person and work of Christ, faith and obedience, hope and love. These along with a few more constitute the essence of the truth which we must know and love. Christ summed up the moral law as love to God and man. Salvation He made to rest upon faith in God and in the One whom He had sent. Paul simplified the wonders of the spiritual life in the words, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” The temptation to forget the few spiritual essentials and to go wandering off after unimportant things is very strong, especially to Christians of a certain curious type of mind. Such persons find the great majors of the faith of our fathers altogether too tame for them. Their souls loathe that light bread; their appetites crave the gamy tang of fresh-killed meat. They take great pride in their reputation as being mighty hunters before the Lord, and any time we look out we may see them returning from the chase with some new mystery hanging limply over their shoulder. Usually the game they bring down is something on which there is a biblical closed season. Some vague hint in the Scriptures, some obscure verse about which the translators disagree, some marginal note for which there is not much scholarly authority: these are their favorite meat. They are especially skillful at propounding notions which have never been a part of the Christian heritage of truth. Their enthusiasm mounts with the uncertainty of their position, and their dogmatism grows firmer in proportion to the mystery which surrounds their subject.