Sunday, May 18, 2008

Quiet Moments With God--Power in The Word

In my reading today I came across an interesting verse, most likely one that has sparked vigorous discussions. The disciples were committed to the truth, which is one of the reasons this verse stands out to me.

Phillippians 1:17-18 says, "The former (those who preach Christ out of envy and rivalry) preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice."

Amazing words. Paul rejoices in Christ being preached even when the motive is ALL wrong. This raises a question for me. How often do I/we feel at odds with “the church down the street” because they do things a little differently than we do or their motives seem out of line?

Paul does not mince words, but states clearly that no matter what the motives, God’s Word is vibrant and living. No matter who is speaking, if Christ is preached it’s good. I’m not advocating heresy; heretical doctrine cannot be supported. But that doesn’t mean we’re to spend our time scrapping over the differences in our faith, or our music or teaching styles.

If I’m to be completely honest, my own motives are not always what they should be. How often do any of us have absolutely pure motives? Don’t we sometimes hope to get something for what we give? Whether it’s a thank you or admiration, or status or . . . The list is long. Therefore, if we who endeavor to serve the Lord with pure hearts cannnot manage to do that, then who are we to judge someone else’s motives?

If we keep our focus on Christ and not on each other's shortcomings there will be less strife, which will naturally create more time to accomplish God’s will. I say our time is better spent serving, loving, and teaching God’s Word rather than sniping at each other.

Over the years, I've visited many churches. In some the preacher spoke in a way that was foreign to me, too theatrical or too subdued. Worship music has many faces. Does that make one that's different from what we're used to any less worshipful? I've listened to preachers who I felt were more interested in the money they could pull in than saving souls, which saddens me, but doesn't diminish the wonder of God's Word.

Shall we work together, side-by-side preaching Christ? We are brothers and sisters in the Lord. There is power in The Word. Power to change lives!

And so I say, "Amen to brotherhood and forbearance."

Grace and Peace to you from God.


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