God’s Word – His truth and unshakable principles – can be denied and defied but never destroyed. His truth is as eternal as He is. His commands are never actually broken because they stand firm. If we set them aside, we suffer the consequences. Our defiance doesn’t negate His laws, it breaks us.
Jesus declared: “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand.” Another writer of the gospels recorded it this way: “If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” God’s people are more divided than the U.S. Congress and the high rate of marriages ending in divorce. Because the family of God so quickly divides and divorces over any disagreement, marriages, communities, states and even our nation has followed the practice of separation and divorce too often demonstrated by the church. The failure on the part of the church to stand in supernatural unity as the family of God and faith has led to the awful division, polarization, and inability of leadership to reason together for the glory of God and benefit of everyone.
Marriages are destroyed, families divide, churches split, leaders are void of wisdom, and all creation trembles because the family of a perfect Father has become dysfunctional. From the moment God created us in His image, He desired intimate fellowship as the result of love between Him and us – His children. He wanted a family that loved Him and one another through whom He could bless the nations of the world. From the moment of creation, the rebellious angel – Lucifer – and one third of the angelic hosts who followed him have attacked the kingdom purpose of God in the lives of all who have been born again by the Spirit to become His family, the church, the body of Christ. Satan attacks God’s plan for your life by assaulting relationships, first with the Father, then with one another. The enemy succeeds through deception, dissension and division first in the church and then in all areas. This must be corrected, beginning now.
I am witnessing signs of hope. For more than 20 years Betty and I, through mission outreaches around the world, working with compassionate people, and through the LIFE Today television program, have been seeing Christians begin to love God and one another the way Jesus prayed we would. Without placing blame on any person or group, I, like so many others, had separated from those who seemed to see truth in a different light than my own group, tribe, or denomination.
Although there were different tribes and groups in the Old Testament life of Israel, God still wanted them to be His unified family, so He could bless the families of this earth through them. So it should be for us through the grace of Christ and the Holy Spirit to bless and disciple the nations of the world. But the truth is, a house divided cannot stand against the forces of hell. Only those who enjoy intimate knowledge of Him and fellowship with Him can hear His voice clearly and stand firm against the gates of hell.
God wants to bring His family together with tribal and sectarian divides no longer keeping us from Him and one another. This goes for fundamental Bible groups and all denominations, including evangelicals, mainline groups, Pentecostals, charismatics, Protestants and Catholics. Luther never intended to split the church. His prophetic role was to correct and bring healing, not more division. All of us in the church need the discipline and training that only comes through the love and grace of God alive in our hearts. We don’t destroy differences and diversity; we welcome them and allow “iron to sharpen iron.” We will all be keener and sharper when we appreciate the fact we do not all see truth the same exact way as we together “look through a glass darkly,” not perfectly at all times.
We are like sheep following the perfect Shepherd. Believers must stop merely defending truth and begin demonstrating the power of it. Stop discussing the Holy Spirit and begin to live in the power of the Spirit. Stop worshipping our view or our tribal leader and pursue Jesus while openly loving one another. We must all seek to be an answer to Jesus’ prayer in John 17:23, “…That they may be perfected in unity, so the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” He did not pray amiss. What He asked for matters deeply to Him, His Father and should also to us.
We don’t have to compromise to seek the unity He desired. It is a great compromise not to seek it. I am going to continue meeting with believers outside my group (or tribe) in uncompromising love. I have not knowingly set aside anything in God’s Word to seek fellowship and understanding with other believers outside my particular group. I believe all who have trusted Christ and believe in the authority of His Word are members of His family, the church of the living God. I am reaching out to them and watching God work His grace and truth more clearly into all of our lives. I am witnessing the children of God come together in love for Him and one another. This is when the world will see we are truly His disciples, the shining city set on a hill, and the revelation of Christ in all of His fullness.
Sameness, lack of diversity, and total agreement is not what God desires. He loves diversity and is a Creator of distinctiveness. No two of us are alike. No two fingerprints or snowflakes. It is the enemy of life and truth that promotes “sameness” as unity. Only God can produce the supernatural unity with diversity and difference that both the Father and the world are waiting to see. I am agreeing with Jesus and praying for it. This will prove to be the first step toward the great spiritual awakening so desperately needed in our day.