#TheGreatExchangeForService #criticism #maturity #division #separation #command #believers #relationship #worship #hair #dress #behavior #faults #peace #joy #righteousness#intercession #unity #peace #disunity #pride #Christian #grace #humility #problem
Subject – The Great Exchange For Service – intercession Part 10 of 4 – Disagreement and Division over Lifestyle differences between Younger and Older believers – How do you handle it? Criticism
OTAKADA.org content count 22,337
18thof November 2018
Dear Brethren, welcome to our 10 of 4thseries dealing with division in churches especially between the older and younger believers in Christ over differences in lifestyle and how these breeds toxic criticism amongst the brethren that causes division within and between churches and how best to handle it. Issues like day of worship, what one eats or drinks, how one keeps the hair or dresses has divided churches. Let us look at what Jesus and Paul has to say about these in scriptures below to help provide core content relevant to this challenge and how these issues were dealt with then and how we can apply them now to foster unity in the body of Christ.
Matthew 7:3-5 The Message (MSG)
A Simple Guide for Behavior
7 1-5 “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor
Romans 14:1- The Message (MSG)
Cultivating Good Relationships
14 Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with—even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.
2-4 For instance, a person who has been around for a while might well be convinced that he can eat anything on the table, while another, with a different background, might assume he should only be a vegetarian and eat accordingly. But since both are guests at Christ’s table, wouldn’t it be terribly rude if they fell to criticizing what the other ate or didn’t eat? God, after all, invited them both to the table. Do you have any business crossing people off the guest list or interfering with God’s welcome? If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help.
5 Or, say, one person thinks that some days should be set aside as holy and another thinks that each day is pretty much like any other. There are good reasons either way. So, each person is free to follow the convictions of conscience.
6-9 What’s important in all this is that if you keep a holy day, keep it for God’s sake; if you eat meat, eat it to the glory of God and thank God for prime rib; if you’re a vegetarian, eat vegetables to the glory of God and thank God for broccoli. None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters. It’s God we are answerable to—all the way from life to death and everything in between—not each other. That’s why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other.
10-12 So where does that leave you when you criticize a brother? And where does that leave you when you condescend to a sister? I’d say it leaves you looking pretty silly—or worse. Eventually, we’re all going to end up kneeling side by side in the place of judgment, facing God. Your critical and condescending ways aren’t going to improve your position there one bit. Read it for yourself in Scripture:
“As I live and breathe,” God says,
“every knee will bow before me;
Every tongue will tell the honest truth
that I and only I am God.”
So tend to your knitting. You’ve got your hands full just taking care of your own life before God.
13-14 Forget about deciding what’s right for each other. Here’s what you need to be concerned about: that you don’t get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is. I’m convinced—Jesus convinced me!—that everything as it is in itself is holy. We, of course, by the way we treat it or talk about it, can contaminate it.
15-16 If you confuse others by making a big issue over what they eat or don’t eat, you’re no longer a companion with them in love, are you? These, remember, are persons for whom Christ died. Would you risk sending them to hell over an item in their diet? Don’t you dare let a piece of God-blessed food become an occasion of soul-poisoning!
17-18 God’s kingdom isn’t a matter of what you put in your stomach, for goodness’ sake. It’s what God does with your life as he sets it right, puts it together, and completes it with joy. Your task is to single-mindedly serve Christ. Do that and you’ll kill two birds with one stone: pleasing the God above you and proving your worth to the people around you.
19-21 So let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault. You’re certainly not going to permit an argument over what is served or not served at supper to wreck God’s work among you, are you? I said it before and I’ll say it again: All food is good, but it can turn bad if you use it badly, if you use it to trip others up and send them sprawling. When you sit down to a meal, your primary concern should not be to feed your own face but to share the life of Jesus. So be sensitive and courteous to the others who are eating. Don’t eat or say or do things that might interfere with the free exchange of love.
22-23 Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don’t impose it on others. You’re fortunate if your behavior and your belief are coherent. But if you’re not sure, if you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe—some days trying to impose your opinions on others, other days just trying to please them—then you know that you’re out of line. If the way you live isn’t consistent with what you believe, then it’s wrong.
Divisions in churches often occur when disagreements over lifestyle issues grow into major arguments and church splits. Paul warned the church not to pass judgement on younger believers whose faith is still young and growing. The kingdom of God is about goodness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. Anything outside this is of the evil one. Jesus went on to emphasis the importance of assessing our own stand, confirm that we are standing before we are qualified to point at other’s faults and failings. What we eat, what we wear, how we dress, where and when we worship should not divide us.
Prayer:Dear Lord God, thank You for the simplicity in walking with You. Help us to be led by Your Spirit always and not to be a stumbling block to others in the race of faith. Your Spirit is love, joy and goodness. Cause us to do an internal audit of ourselves continually so we can stand blameless before you. Help us to open ourselves and welcome all who names the name of Christ and extend the heart of love in Jesus name we have prayed with thanksgiving.
By authority in the name of Jesus Christ, I speak to every raging storm in the lives of those who are reading this blog today, I join my faith with theirs, be it in relationships, health and finance, we proclaim peace be still, be healed and be restored in Jesus name we have declared with thanksgiving
Monday Ogwuojo Ogbe – E-discipleship at Otakada.org