Dear Church family,
Ephesians 4:1-6 (NLT) “Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.”
In this day and time, there are more churches than ever before. Often new churches start up as a result of Christians not seeing ‘eye to eye’ on something. One group of people decides they don’t agree with another group. As it pertains to holding true to the Word of God, I can see a valid reason to consider leaving a church. Too often though, people leave for ‘lesser’ reasons. Or let’s say, our personal preferences become the reason we leave, or a new church starts.
Too often what is happening is an internal struggle to let ‘God matter more’. Our preferences trump God’s desires. Wanting things to be “my way” ends up taking priority over wanting things God’s way.
Now, does this mean God has a favorite church? Does He have a flooring preference? Does He prefer a rich red over a royal blue color? Does He secretly enjoy the organ over the guitar? Does He prefer a lecture format in discipleship or an interactive approach? I could go on. Actually, God doesn’t give us any indication of His preferences on these things.
Sadly, too often these things become what divide a church. Why? Because they are really personal preferences. We all have them. How do I know this? If I were to go to each of your homes and walk in the front door, I would immediately start to see what matters to you. Some things would make me smile. Some would leave me wondering. We all have personal preferences. Even if we believe so, our preferences are not more “right” than other’s preferences.
I share these insights with you to remind you to always keep in mind that as we come together as the body of Christ each week, unity matters. Unity doesn’t mean we all prefer royal blue, the guitar, or the lecture format of discipleship. It also doesn’t mean we all live in homes that are decorated exactly the same. What it means is that we don’t make personal preferences the main thing. We keep Jesus as the ‘main thing’.
Paul says to the church in Ephesus “Lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.” This isn’t just outside the church, but inside. His glory matters more than our preferences. Paul then tells us what that looks like: “Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” Paul then ends the passage with mentioning what unites us.
You have heard me say this for the past 8 months – He matters more! If that is to be true in each of our lives and in our church, then how we treat each other when we have differences, matters. When colors, music, and discipleship formats don’t match your preferences, will the unity of the body and the glory of God matter more? I hope so.
I share this exhortation to keep preferences in perspective. I share this exhortation because those without Christ who watch our lives, must see a people who live as though Jesus matters more!
Walking with you,