Summary: Too many churches are caught up in conflict because they've forgotten who is truly the enemy. How do we prevent conflict from ruling the church? Choose the correct weapons! Check out these thoughts from Scott Jewell, our Family Minister.
Thom Rainer of Lifeway Christian Resources wrote a blog article in which he compiled a list of 25 odd church arguments. I narrowed it down to 10, including a couple I’ve heard previously. (I’ve included a brief describer with color commentary for each).
1. color of roof shingles- sit under their own color
2. what kind of carpet- is flying an option?
3. chairs or pews- one person declared they’d buy chairs when God told them to buy chairs
4. allow people to wear black t-shirts, since black is the color of the devil- thought it was red
5. if a clock in the worship center should be removed- was a rather time-consuming debate
6. which picture of Jesus to put in the foyer- who took the pictures- Lifetouch/Olan Mills
7. allow deviled eggs at the church meal- set them next to the angel food cake
8. should the worship leader have his shoes on during the service- no shoes/shirt/service
9. “potluck” instead of “pot blessing”- good thing we call them carry-ins
10. appropriate length of the associate minister’s beard- Terri (my wife) won this one
We laugh about these things- sadly, there are places where all of these have happened. Why?
They forgot who the enemy is and turned on each other. But Paul says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
How do we avoid making the same mistakes? We need to choose our weapons wisely. Paul wrote, “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” (Ephesians 6:13)
Why would we need this armor of God? Paul describes the battlefield like this- “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)
Can you imagine being in a battle like this and choosing to not wear your armor? Suicide! I once found this prayer to be a great reminder of just how difficult the struggle can be.
Dear Lord, So far I've done alright. I haven't gossiped, haven't lost my temper, haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or overindulgent. I'm glad about that. But in a few minutes, God, I'm going to get out of bed. And from then on, I'm going to need a lot more help.
The battle starts from the moment we get up until the time we fall asleep. As the great theologian MC Hammer once said- we’ve got to pray just to make it today! What’s our armor?
Belt of Truth
Why start with a belt? It’s not very large, doesn’t cover much area, didn’t even have one of those great big cowboy buckles like you could find at the fair last week.
This belt is truth- we live in a world that proclaims “There is no such thing as absolute truth.”
Look at that statement- in order to be right, it has to be true, if it is true, it has to be right
Jesus says- “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)