We are the church. We are the body. We are supposed to love one another and teach one another and build one another up. But what are we seeing today? Do we see the building of the church or do we see that we are tearing it down?
We see that there’s a lot of tearing down the church, especially at the individual level. Many are just tired and weary of the burden of being part of the Body and this is being discussed about not so the Body can be shamed into loving one another but so this ‘wound’ shall be recognized and no longer allowed to fester but so we as the Body may confess to one another and be healed of our diseases and sins.
There are many glaring symptoms of this ‘wound’. The first and foremost of it is that many believers would go to each other’s YouTube pages, blogs and especially to a person and rebuke first before giving any sort of encouragement and affirmations, which is not really biblical because even God Himself had John the Apostle to write to the seven churches by giving them affirmations first before he sent any rebukes a, except for the churches in Smyrna, Sardis and Laodicea, because they have none! But note that to each one in Revelation, that God had Apostle John says: “I know your deeds”, meaning that God Himself only gave such severely convicting words only after considering all of their deeds and the motivations of their hearts, which none of us can truly know when we judge other Christians. Note also that when Paul wrote the Epistles, he made it a point to acknowledge the work of God over in these churches before he brings up the concerns. This is because he knows that words have power and words have the power to build up and the power to tear down. Both examples emphasizes on the power of words to build up the Body and then tearing down the mistakes.
Unfortunately, a lot of Christians are deluded into thinking they can judge better than Paul the Apostle and God and throw around condemning words (I confess, when I was younger and an ignorant and immature Christian, I was one of them) like as if we had just been given the seat at the Great White Throne of Judgment (at least that’s how we act like).
Don’t get me wrong. We definitely need to test the spirits and rebuke wrongdoings. But if we are serious about testing the spirits instead of throwing the proverbial first stone we need to respectfully and gently write or speak to the person we want to test the spirits about.
This tendency to ‘make haste to throw the first stone’ is a serious manifestation of our sinful nature. It shows how much we are like the older brother to the prodigal son of Luke 15:11-32 and less like the disciples accepting Paul as a new disciple in Galatians 2.
Most likely, preachers, ministers and prophets are just doing their best to follow God, and sometimes they are simply ignorant of certain things. Maybe the enemy is entangling them in his plans, but God has a heart for them. Maybe they are hurting on the inside. A lot of our neighbors and brothers and sisters in Christ are just like you and me, we are humans, God made us just like God made you, and they too have families and friends and have relationships with Jesus. Maybe we the Body have taken the ‘test the spirits’ command or instruction a little too far by calling everything and everyone who looked a little strange ‘broods of vipers’ and ‘whitewashed tombs’ instead of using discernment. Maybe we the Body are just so fixated on fixing other people that we want to overshadow the Holy Spirit’s work of convicting people by condemning them first. So we need to be careful in this area.
Then what about the false prophets and those that Jesus says will call Him, ‘Lord, Lord’ and will still not inherit the Kingdom? Jesus said these false prophets are prophets who will preach in His Name but will not do the will of the Father. This means that if they have good fruit and their preaching and prophesy are to advance the will and Kingdom of God, then they are not false. But if they preach and prophesy merely to divide the Kingdom of God and preach and prophesy simply to say that they are better than everyone else chances are they are not preaching the Bible. They are preaching what they think is the Bible.
What if the biggest deception that the enemy has given us is the idea that we are doing God a favor by pointing out all the mistakes of everyone we pass by and leave no stone unturned? What if his mission is to weaponize us against God and ourselves? What is better than to have the Body hates itself? To have the eye hates the ear because the ear looks nothing like the eye (Referring to 1 Corinthians 12:15-27)?
When Jesus appeared to the disciples and was about to ascend after His Resurrection He could not stress enough on how much the church must love one another so the world may know that we are the church.
So what is love?
According to the greatest Apostle of all time – Paul (God would not have trusted him to write more than half of the canonized New Testament otherwise), love is:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Recently, a church in Wichita, Kansas paid off about $1,000,000 worth of medical debt for Kansans with their funds and that is an example of love. A love that is not self-seeking at all, a love that has a mark on history for all of eternity because the church is doing what generations of churches have done by extending the love of Jesus and helping those who are in need by becoming the yoke that is easy and burden that is light for the people of God in Kansas and those who are yet to believe in Him.
Another example involves a church in Portland, Oregon is building tiny homes for the homeless on their own compound, allowing the homeless to find shelter and take care of their needs. Yet another remarkable example involves the recent tragic and atrocious terrorist activities in Sri Lanka, from which a pastor and his wife, whose church was one of the places of worship that were attacked have decided to forgive the terrorists for their acts, giving room for the Hands of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to work, by the triumphing power of the Cross and the Blood of the Lamb of God through the Holy Spirit. This is going to be an unprecedented work of love, the kind love that allows Jesus’ forgiveness of his torturers because ‘they do not know what they do’ to turn large numbers to surrender themselves fully to Him and love Him more than the promise of earthly treasures.
Other examples of such kindness includes another church in Kansas has been sending out volunteers every month to the help with the needs of the community and various other churches have launched food pantries and partnerships and collaborations with the Salvation Army and other similar programs that are beneficial for the community and that allows the Body to love one another and others just as Jesus has commanded us.
But what about the individual Christian?
What can each of us do?
Each of us can be intentional to not be a weapon of the devil by abstaining from gossiping, slandering, greed, panning, inveighing, crabbing, abjecting, condemning, severely criticizing and tearing each other down. Instead, we can fill ourselves with patience, kindness, encouraging, lovingkindness, teaching, giving, longsuffering, persevering and building up the church.
Of course, it is not going to be easy. In fact, we are so bad at this that we all don’t want to talk about it in fear that we will be held to this standard and fail. Well, that’s where the dependence of Jesus comes in. None of us is going to able to seek the good of others and loving others as Jesus has called us to do without the Blood of Jesus allowing us to do so.
It is only when we are born again, renewed of mind and transformed of heart can we begin to operate in the principles of His Kingdom and love Him like we will never thirst again and serve Him like we will never go hungry again, because this is truly when Jesus has become our bread of life and water of life. When it not in our nature to turn to the other cheek or to love someone and pray for someone who just humiliates our intelligence (or whatever is our forte), then it is time to make a spiritual evaluation of ourselves. And who can do that better than the LORD Himself? Ask and it will be given. That is all we need to do to see what has gone unchecked.
The Blood of Jesus has afforded us salvation, redemption, justification, sanctification and adoption among many other things that are parts of the inheritance of being a child of God. Some of us may want His Blood to afford us health, wealth and happiness, but in order for us to steward those blessings in godliness, we need to first inherit the fruits of the Spirit and the Seven Spirits of God. We need to have godly generosity and lovingkindness and all the other characteristics of godliness within us so we may steward material or spiritual abundance or both.
Therefore, we need to be intentional and seek to make a daily choice to love. It is not easy to love because we are sinners made saints. It is not natural to us to turn the other cheek because we are just so self-seeking and wanting only what is good for ourselves and not others. But we need to look into the life of our Lord and Savior and Returning King to see what agape and true love looks like so we may emulate Him in such a way that shines like a light coming from a beacon on a hill or like stars in the dark Universe. And that is only going to be possible if Jesus is our yoke that is easy and the burden that is light.