Saturday, January 12, 2008

Let's Keep On Keepin' On

Have you considered the word endeavor recently? It means a strenuous attempt, an effort.

The Bible (King James translation) exhorts us clearly: "I...beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

Huh. Why would Paul write such things? Didn't he realize he was talking to the Church, the perfect place, the "safe from all conflict and hurt" place, the "ultimate refuge" kind of place? Didn't he know that people who belong to the church would never offend one another or let another brother or sister down, that there would be no such disappointment named among them? Why did he write such things? What could he have been thinking?

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming with this report:
Offences within the Body of Christ happen innumerable times every day. Mature believers are seen refusing to carry those offences, encouraging younger converts to leave them behind as well. However, some of these more immature Christians are not heeding such counsel, choosing to pick up offenses. Some of these can even be seen falling behind the pack of racers, weighed down with hurts, envy, and unforgiveness. Some have even stumbled now and fallen down, some are now off the track altogether. Others pause, trying to help them up, once again exhorting them to lay down their excess baggage. Will they do so? Will they get back in the race, or continue lagging behind, struggling to carry unnecessary weight?
Stay tuned for complete coverage as we follow this fascinating race to the finish!

"What? How could this be?!" you ask. "This is not what I expected? I joined this church to find friendship, fellowship, and fun, not sin, sorrow, and suffering. I want my membership canceled and my money back!"

Hold on, hold on. Who ever promised you a rose garden? You were only promised a family of fellow believers here on earth, believers just like you. And last time I checked you weren't so perfect either (just take a look in the mirror in case you've forgotten.) Perfection is only to be found in your fellowship with Him. Remember?

I have a natural family. We are comprised of a father, mother, and nine children along with their spouses and children. Do we all automatically get along, or is there effort involved? Do we need to diligently tend to communication, taking care to eliminate misunderstandings, or can we read minds without bothering to express thoughts with care? How about sharing? Do my children need to learn to give freely, or have they been born with such knowledge already working in their hearts? Hopefully you get the point.

The Church, this new creation, was made up of people just like you and me. And it still is today. Of course Paul had to instruct them to have longsuffering, to bear with one another (to sustain without yielding or suffering injury; tolerate), to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

If I take an honest look at myself - my weakness, my needs, my failures - I will be a bit quicker to humbly extend grace to my brothers and sisters. All of them, even those in places of authority, stand in need of such grace. No one has been given authority because they have attained perfection - not one father or mother, not one pastor or elder, not one husband. I am afraid we would be without any authority at all if that were the case.

Christ is the sinless, spotless Lamb. Look to Him alone for perfection, and allow Him to give you grace for your fellow runners in this race. Don't stoop to pick up those weights and distractions, those offences which can cause us to stumble. Let them go, and run freely. Run with all your might. There is a race before us all. Let's finish together.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful. Thank you for the encouragement and confirmation that I have chosen to run the right race, no matter how difficult.

8:12 AM  

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