Most of all, let love guide your life, for then the whole church will stay together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:14
As members of the body of Christ (the church), it’s our job to protect it. The Purpose Driven Life offers these tips:
- Focus on what we have in common, not our differences. As believers we share one Lord, one body, one purpose, one Father, one Spirit, one hope, one faith, one baptism and one love… We must remember that it was God who chose to give us different personalities, backgrounds, races and preferences, so we should value and enjoy those differences, not merely tolerate them.
- Be realistic in your expectations. Once you discover what God intends real friendship to be, it is easy to become discouraged by the gap between the ideal and the real in your church… Other believers will disappoint you and let you down, but that’s no excuse to stop fellowshipping with them.
- Choose to encourage rather than criticize. It’s always easier to stand on the sidelines and take shots at those who are serving than it is to get involved and make a contribution… Whenever I judge another believer, four things instantly happen: I lose fellowship with God, I expose my own pride and insecurity, I set myself up to be judged by God and I harm the fellowship of the church. A critical spirit is a costly vice.
- Refuse to listen to gossip. Gossip is passing on information when you are neither part of the problem nor part of the solution. You know spreading gossip is wrong, but you should not listen to it either, if you want to protect your church… have the courage to say, “Please stop. I don’t need to know this. Have you talked directly to that person?”
- Practise God’s method for conflict resolution. ‘If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him – work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church.’ Matthew 18:15-17a
- Support your pastor and leaders. There are no perfect leaders, but God gives leaders the responsibility and the authority to maintain the unity of the church… Pastors will one day stand before God and give an account of how well they watched over you… But you are accountable too. You will give an account to God of how well you followed your leaders.
I’m going to take this challenge up. How wonderful if everyone protected their church family as vehemently as we protect our natural family!
Thanks for joining me as I journey through the The Purpose Driven Life book. I can’t believe we’re already halfway through! I’d love to hear your thoughts about what I’ve written and feel free to add your own experiences. Have a nice day
PLEASE NOTE: Quotations in this and other posts relating to The Purpose Driven Life (usually entitled Day:?) are sourced from The Purpose Driven Life book by Rick Warren unless otherwise stated. This is an independant study and is based on my opinion and experience only. Copies of The Purpose Driven Life book are available for purchase from all good christian books stores, including Koorong. The first seven chapters of the book can be downloaded FREE from Rick Warren’s official site here.