United in Christ is too simple.

I think it's great that so many people talk about unity and being united in Christ and unity among believers. This is an incredibly important topic. But I think it deserves more credit than we've given it.

Unity among believers is so much deeper than getting along, avoiding gossip, and tolerating different kinds of worship music. Those things are good; we should not gossip, and who cares what the music is like?! Let's just praise Jesus!

That's just it, though: Christ established the church to make disciples and bring glory to Himself. That is the purpose of our unity. It's not just some half-hearted, "Let's get along to make Jesus happy." It's life or death for the rest of the world.

"Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry," Paul writes from prison, "but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice." Philippians 1:15-18

I can be a very critical person, reading into people's intentions and assuming something must be utterly wrong if they look or act or speak a certain way. This is especially true with pastors and worship leaders. There are certain styles of preaching and singing that rub me the wrong way. It looks flamboyant or showy or self-focused or just plain wrong. So I assume these leaders have impure motives.

But they could think the same of me ("Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you." Matthew 7:1-2). And they are sometimes right!

What is the goal here? As I've been studying Galatians, Ephesians, and Philippians with the ladies at my church, my eyes have been opened to the true purpose of the church. In his letters to church groups around Asia, Paul continues to hammer this home: the church exists to lead people to Christ. And if the church is full of lazy, selfish, complaining, bickering people, that is not going to convince anybody that Jesus is worth following.

We must overcome our quickness to judge other Christians' motives. As long as they are preaching the Truth and leading people to Jesus, who cares how they do it or what their intentions are? Praise the Lord and rejoice that people are being lead to faith! Even Paul, in prison, knew that people were leading in a way meant to spite him, but he was joyful knowing that the goal of making disciples was still the main thing. And that brings God glory.

I want to end with this prayer of blessing and promise Paul wrote to the church at Philippi:

"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God."
~ Philippians 1:3-11 (emphasis mine)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hello! I'm Faith. I'm a verbal processor who wants to love the Lord and love people with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. I write to think and think to write. I don't drink coffee. I am a dogless dog lover. I enjoy hosting large parties in my home, and I enjoy being alone. Join me in looking to Him and pursuing A Radiant Face.

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