Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dissention Within the Church

Gracyn Pouting-1
This blog post was written January 2009. This issue is near and dear to my heart. By reposting this, it is my desire that we as the Church bring life to one another. That we would be aware of Satan schemes and pray against his efforts to divide and conquer within the church and within the family. Dissention is a spirit used by the enemy to bring division.

My prayer is not for them alone(the disciples), but for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be ONE, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:20 – 23

How amazing that the last prayer Jesus prayed that dark night in the garden of Gethsemane was that we, the future believers, would be ONE! That we the future believers would be brought into complete unity. Our relationship with Christ must be so deeply rooted in Him that our lives reflect HIS character. Only when we reflect Christ to others will there be complete unity within the church. Only when we are allowing Christ to use us for His purposes will we be an encouragement to others. God desires us to be in relationships that point us back to life and complete wholeness in Christ. He desires us to love one another with this same love having our needs met by Him and in Him alone.
Why complete unity?? So that the world would know that God has sent his only son Jesus to die and be resurrected out of His great love for us. People will not only hear the gospel but see it lived out in believers. I truly believe that people are searching desperately for the Truth, truth that is life changing, truth that really does make a difference. If we don’t love one another within the church how on earth are we going to love those in the world? If we don’t love one another within the church how on earth are we going to make any real eternal difference for Christ?
You see when we are so focused on inner dissention within the church our focus will be taken away from our real enemy, Satan. I want to read you a passage from Michael Youssef’s book, Know Your Real Enemy, Dr. Youssef calls these sins, socially acceptable sins. Sins that are so widespread among the church that we dismiss them. He goes onto say that these sins have the greatest long range negative impact upon you, your family and the body of Christ. They are sins that express conflict in our ordinary day to day relationships at home and at church, church member and church member. He goes on to list these socially acceptable sins. Listen to these!

· Gossiping and murmuring
· A critical spirit
· An unforgiving heart
· Rebellion against God’s principles in marriage and in the home
· A husband’s relinquishing of power within the role of spiritual responsibility in the home
· A wife’s resentment of her husband’s spiritual leadership
· Spiritual pride and jealousy
· Putting others down
· A desire for self-promotion
· A child’s refusal to obey parents
· Divisiveness and rebellion against spiritual authority

Satan knows dissention within the church will hinder the growth of the church. To be difference makers in the world we MUST be different than the world. The world must see something different in us. Our life the way we live it out must be so deeply rooted in God that it brings hope and LIFE to those around us. You see these sins listed above are life stealers because they are focused on tearing down relationships with other believers and within the family. These socially acceptable sins leave us feeling downcast and insecure.

We hear someone gossip and it breaks down our ability to trust others with the things of our past or the things we hold closest to our heart.

When we are around those with a critical spirit we become weighed down to be perfect in fear that our mistakes will be talked about in attempt to make others feel better about themselves.

When we have an unforgiving heart we live a life of bitterness and resentment. We weigh down those around us with this bitterness.

Life stealers. The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. As Michael puts it in his book, the enemy comes to divide and conquer. On page 56 of Know your Real Enemy, Dr. Youssef states, "Watch out for the socially acceptable sins. Satan knows that if he comes out in the open and fights a biblically sound church, he will lose. So he will not even try. Instead he will attack from another direction. He will infiltrate the churches with people with spiritual pride, people who are possessed with critical spirits, people who are seeking self-promotion, people who cannot distinguish between a true angel of light and the fallen angel masquerading as an angel of light. And through them will begin to sow the seed of doubt to sow the seed of discontentment. He will begin to sow the seed of division and partisan spirit. And before you know it, the churches leadership will be running around trying to put fires out, and losing their fire for God and the gospel." These sins listed above are common issues that create conflict within the church.
Continuing to look at Jesus’ prayer in the Garden before his death, My prayer is not that you will take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. John 17:15 The Greek word for evil in this verse is the word poneros (pon ay ros) which means full of labors, annoyances, hardships, pressed and harassed by labours, bring toils, annoyances, causing us pain and trouble. Jesus is praying for our protection against the devil who desires for us to be in conflict with one another. He is praying for our effectiveness in this world which is Satan’s domain. Satan desires to give us a life full of hardship, labours, annoyances, He brings us harassment and toils. He causes us pain and trouble. But Jesus has prayed for us and continues to pray for us.
Behind every argument between believers and family is an enemy that desires dissention. An enemy that desires to divide us. An enemy that wants to sabatoge our relationships with each other. An enemy that wants us so focused on our dissention with fellow believers and family members that we aren’t focused on him and his tactics.
Let me explain, Satan is crafty. He is the father of lies. He knows that to make an eternal difference we as believers must be one. After all this was Jesus’ prayer right before his death. Knowing this he does everything in his power to cause dissention within the church. He wants us focused on our differences, He wants us to become prideful in our assessment of scripture, He wants us focused on gossip and the things we don’t like, He wants us believing that we get all our needs met in church and our focus on any of the particular needs that are not being met at that moment, He wants us focused on ourselves and not on others, building ourselves up knowing that in our building of self we are tearing down the foundation of serving others.
Ephesians 6:10-12, 18. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full of armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is NOT against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
You see, Paul, is telling the early believers to be on guard against the devil’s schemes. That their battle is not with each other but with the spiritual forces of evil. Our battle is not against other believers or our husband or our children or even that particular friend. Our battle is with the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. This battle we were not created to fight on our own. We must have the help of the Holy Spirit. He goes on to say and pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Sisters in Christ let us not hinder our effectiveness with a spirit of dissention. It is my prayer that our eyes will be open to the ways Satan tries to infiltrate and destroy our relationships. Relationships that God intended to us bring blessing and intimacy. Let's pray for an awareness of the devil's schemes.

Picture above is of Gracyn. I wanted to use this photo of her because her expression reflects how I often feel. So often how I feel is written all over my face.

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