Negotiation Table

Stand united, singular in vision, contending for people’s trust in the Message, the good news, not flinching or dodging in the slightest before the opposition. Your courage and unity will show them what they’re up against: defeat for them, victory for you—and both because of God. There’s far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There’s also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting. (Philippians 1:28-29)

Sitting Bull said, "Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children." It was a wise aim, but one I feel might have left us somewhere along the way. Unity is a hard thing to create, much less maintain. Unity actually requires only one agenda and when we humans get involved, there are always going to be differing agendas. How is it we put down our own agendas and take up Christ's? How can we still maintain our individuality and be part of a group bigger purpose? It comes not in 'giving up' our agenda, but by 'picking up' the agenda of Christ. The more we listen to his teaching and align both mind and heart with that teaching, we find our own self-guided agendas take the backseat.

Do you know why others are drawn to the message of Christ? It is because they see the message lived out in your life. The most powerful message Christ can use is a changed life. The hardest thing for us to allow is change. The mind demands its own way. The heart twists us up in emotional upheaval every time we don't get our own way. It is a constant push and pull struggle that is very real. The hope we have is that when we put down our agenda long enough to embrace his, we are transported into a place of greater peace, deeper reward, and lasting joy. If that doesn't appeal to us, it should! Sitting Bull wanted a better life for his offspring - the future generations of leaders that would come after him. Do we want any less?

I think Sitting Bull had one thing wrong in his wish, though. He wanted our minds to come together. God wants our spirits to lead the way - not our minds or hearts. Both of those are pretty unreliable and will oftentimes demand their own way. Our spirit, united with the Spirit of God, is the only thing to be trusted to guide us in the right direction. When we lean into God's Word, it gets at misguided thoughts and fickle emotions. When we listen to his Spirit within, we find our choices are not always about ourselves, but consider what others will need or desire. God's plan for unity begins in the spiritual realm - not at the negotiation tables. While man 'negotiates', God orchestrates. Isn't it about time we lay down our own agendas and consider the one God has for us - unity with him in Christ Jesus? Just askin!

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