But now you have arrived at your destination: By faith in Christ you are in direct relationship with God. Your baptism in Christ was not just washing you up for a fresh start. It also involved dressing you in an adult faith wardrobe—Christ’s life, the fulfillment of God’s original promise. In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. (Galatians 3:26-28 MSG)
No division - no WE/THEY. In Christ's family there can be no division. Let that one sink in a moment. Take even two minutes to think about the present circumstances in our nation and you will realize there is even more division and 'divisiveness' these days than ever. We have families and friends 'divided' over this pandemic - divided over if it is real or is it a hoax? We have neighbors within communities 'divided' over which 'lives matter'. We have a country 'divided' over which 'party' really won the election. Despite all the division, God calls us back to center today. He calls us back to a fresh start. It is time to put down our divisiveness and pick up the one thing that brings unity - the cross. There is no 'leveler' playing field than at the foot of the cross. By faith in Christ, we are in direct relationship with God, and those in this 'direct relationship' cannot be party to divisive words, thoughts, or actions. We must live at peace with each other, respect authority, and live out our lives in a way that reveals there is more to this relationship with Christ than just a casual acquaintance with him.
There can be no division. These are pretty plain words and don't need a whole lot of interpretation. No means none. Why does division occur in the first place? If you think back to the earliest time you felt wronged in life, you might just have your answer. Your playmate took the toy you wanted to play with, and you cried out, not because there weren't other toys for you to play with, but because you didn't get your way. You sulked off, sat in a corner pouting because you didn't get your toy. You 'divided' yourself from your playmate because you felt wronged in the deal. What is at the root of division? In most cases, it begins with some form of selfishness. Think for a moment about the one who refuses to follow public health guidelines to mask during the pandemic, limit social contact, or social distance. Do they want the disease? Not really, but they don't want the inconvenience of following the guidelines. In their eyes, they are being denied something they want - freedom to make their own choices and live like they 'normally do'.
At times, I live a little too selfishly. There are none of us on this earth that don't struggle with it from time to time. We forget how much we each have 'in common' with each other. We forget how much God desires us to look beyond our own wants and wishes and see the true need in others. We get wrapped up in our lives and we forget about the needs of others. In time, division happens because we focus more on our own needs and wants than we do those of the ones we are living life with each day. I may not like every decision made to slow the spread of a deadly virus, but I choose to protect not only myself, but those around me. I may not agree with every action taken by our leaders, but I have a responsibility to pray for them and to trust God to guide them. I may not like it when my life gets turned upside down by others, but I cannot 'take sides'. I must remain committed to the one 'side' I can count on 100% of the time - Christ.
Division has no place in the family of God. It has no place in our homes or communities, either! It has no place in our hearts or minds - for that is where division really begins to have an inroad. We are a chosen people, adorned in a grace-filled wardrobe some refer to as 'robes of righteousness'. God didn't put lipstick on pigs. He made us new, not just 'dressed up'. We need to live in this newness of life - free of division and united with him. In that unity of mind, body, and spirit we come to the place we begin to bring unity into our families, communities, and even our world. We stop acting or reacting out of selfish desire and begin to lay down our lives in service to each other. Just sayin!
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