The best secular job I have had so far in my life was serving as an officer in the United States Air Force. The clarity of mission and common purpose, everyone living the value of service before self, the camaraderie and closeness of the unit…there was a lot of great aspects of being an Airman. I say that, because as I think about living on purpose for God and being a Christian (part of a local congregation), I should find those same elements in my service and the same unity in service.
As Christians, we are brothers, sisters, and fellow workers for the Lord.
17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. (1 Peter 2:17; NKJV)
25 Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; 26 since he was longing for you all… (Philippians 2:25-26; NKJV)
42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. (Acts 2:42; NKJV)
We are serving a Father and have an Elder Brother…we are a family with a clear and common purpose of service before self to one another to the glory of God.
15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:15; NKJV)
As I think about this and I examine the state of my relationships with my brothers and sisters, the health of my local church, the emotional/spiritual well-being of my fellow soldiers, the clarity of purpose and our zeal for loving and saving souls…I need to be honest with myself and my God and consider what I am doing and the results I am getting. It is my responsibility to be what God has called me to be in His family. It is my responsibility to live on purpose for Him and live towards unity. I can’t do that for others and what others are doing can’t be a distraction or an excuse for my not living the way God expects and doing the things He has commanded me. God does not move and He will not forsake me. Knowing that, I can be grounded in Him and allow myself to be filled with His love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, patience in such a way that I will be full and able to pour that out on others. Only God can fill me like that and expecting my brothers or sisters to do that will cost me and it will cost them and it will not unify.
God wants us to start with Him and be united with Him. Starting there, we can afford to be vulnerable and to serve because no matter what others are doing or saying, we can be sure God is the same and expects the same and we can go to Him for strength and to be fulfilled and refreshed. To say it another way, if we take confidence in God’s unwavering love and security for us, we can then live in such a way that we can invite others to come along us when they are ready. This takes away the threat for all parties and provides an environment for unity. A way for us to become of one mind, able to receive each other, not be divided…to join ourselves together against the wiles of satan and to God’s glory.
5Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, 6 that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. (Romans 15:5-7; NKJV)
10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (1 Corinthians 1:10; NKJV)