Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Other Side of the Armor

Last time God prompted me to remind His children to suit up for the battle. My pastor’s father mentioned to me a few years ago a “flaw” in the armor. There is nothing protecting the back! You might suppose God is expecting us to have HIM watch our backs. True. You might also think He wants our brothers and sisters in Christ to help guard our backs. But DO we?

What I am about to say will anger some and I don’t really care. Conviction hurts and the Truth of the Word of God will slice through our sin quicker than we might want. The church as the Bride of Christ needs to wake up and stop playing the games of the enemy and the world.

I’ve said it many times…Christians eat their own. Church divisions are known by unbelievers as much as they are by believers. Denominational differences seem to be fodder for the “church wars” and worship styles help things along. Traditional vs. contemporary. Which is right? Which is what God would have us do? That’s for another session.

We are tearing apart the body of Christ! Every time we say something negative about a brother or sister it is shooting hurtful darts at the Savior. It doesn’t matter if you THINK what you’re saying is in love. Is it TRULY? Is it something which builds up and edifies? Romans 14:19 says “So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.”

I don’t see it much. I do see Christians with less than humble attitudes when it comes to wrongs they believe they have suffered. I do see divisions in churches over the music played or not played. I do see people looking down on those who come to church in less than a suit and tie/dress and heels, as if Christ even WORE shoes most of the time. I do see hypocrisy in expecting someone should be better because “they go to church” and yet wanting grace for our own faults despite our own church attendance.

James 1:17-27 says “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures. This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.

But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless.

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

When was the last time you were “quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger” with a brother or sister in Christ? Do you READ the Scriptures on a consistent basis and therefore “receive the Word implanted, which is able to save your souls”? Are you a DOER of the Word or are you one who has been deluded? Take the mirror example. Do you hold in your spiritual stomach for the time it takes you to get through church on Sunday and then let the gut of worldliness hang out for the rest of the week?

This is harsh. This is TRUTH and I don’t see it being lived like it should be. God has taken what little gloves I used to have off. The time is drawing close when He will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” or “Depart from Me, I know you not”. The spitting out is closer than a lot want to believe. Stop being lukewarm. He’s not interested in lukewarm. He wants hot or cold.

Bridle your tongue. Give control of your lips and tongue over to the One who WILL build up His body because He loves it and gave Himself up for it. Don’t allow your religion to be “worthless” because you have torn up another in the body with your wayward tongue.

I’d love to see brothers and sisters in Christ LOVING on each other despite their differences. Scripture tells us they will know us by the love we have one for another. Do they?

Food for thought. Feel free to pass this on to those who agree or disagree.

A. M. Wilson


Lisa Grant said...

Truth is truth, whether people like it or not. This is a deadly disease in the church. To deny its existence is as ridiculous as denying the existence of the flu. And yet, I fear that many who read this will be inclined to point a finger rather than examine themselves. I don't usually pray to be wrong, but this time I will. :)

Keep preaching it, sister!

A. M. Wilson said...

Indeed, the first reaction of most humans is to point the finger of guilt at someone else before realizing how much it applies to them. My prayer in all of this, is to have God's Word, which is able to convict and make whole, do it's work in each reader's heart. If everyone who reads this takes the messages to heart and makes the effort to walk in His ways, can you imagine the explosion of Christ's love in the church? Some houses of worship won't know what hit them. :-)

A. M. Wilson