For years, I held concern in my heart and hid the beautiful story God had given me for fear of judgment.
One morning during my devotions I felt God say, “it was time”. I was concerned with something I was hearing at church where I was facilitating a group.
Throughout the weeks of meeting with the women, I had experienced an awakening in my heart of love, as I received a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The concern weighing heavy over my joy was the issue of division amongst the churches, and the comments that other leaders or members in my group had made.
You see, God has led me to many different denominations to learn from and to grow spiritually. I have believed in the Lord for as long as I can remember, and have the gift of faith, but not always of understanding, nor have I always had a relationship with Jesus.
I believe that God is one God, not specific to one group, but accessible to many.
The variety of the places I have been in and what God has done in me, is an incredible testimony to His ability to work anywhere, but judgemental statements from others have kept me silent.
Often feeling like I did not fully belong in many of these places, God assured me I do not need to worry about the building, for it is the heart of the person He cares about.
In hearing this acceptance from Him, I have been able to remove that feeling of not belonging, to receive wonderful gifts of His presence, peace, love, and wisdom wherever I enter.
Have you held these concerns in your own heart? Or has God been asking you to open your heart to receive others who worship in a different building?
If God is one God, and we are his people; if miracles and good works in serving the poor, and spreading the gospel are taking place through different denominations, and all are preaching Jesus as Lord, then why the need to elevate one, or criticize another?
This is damaging our call to be united in love and good works. Perhaps what one offer’s at that moment, is what the individual needs. But perhaps it is not meeting their needs and therefore, God calls them to move on.
As I grow in understanding of His ways and put them into practice, I have the opportunity to share the wonderful name of Jesus with others. This is what we are called to do. It is not easy, but, if we are going to impact people for the gospel, we need to stop judging and focus on what is the same.
In my devotion one morning, by Nicky Gumbel on the YouVersion Bible App, he shares an experience had by a Capuchin monk in 1977, who attended a conference in Kansas City.
His name is Father Raniero Cantalamessa, and he had been sent by the Vatican to observe this gathering of 20,000 Catholics and 20,000 other Christians. On the final day of the conference, a speaker spoke about disunity within the body of Christ, better known as the church, and its devastating effects.
In the end, it was not 20,000 Catholics and 20,000 other Christians; but 40,000 believers, together, who knelt in repentance under a sign declaring "Jesus is Lord". “At that moment, he caught a glimpse of what Christian unity is all about – 40,000 people kneeling in repentance under the Lordship of Jesus.” (https://my.bible.com/reading-plans/17704-bible-in-one-year-2020-with-nicky-gumbel/day/329)
We shouldn’t be afraid to hear from others, stand together or share what God is doing in our lives because we use different buildings to worship, learn and grow in; He does not want our buildings or our denominations. God wants our hearts. Are you willing to listen, learn, stand together and share that Jesus is Lord? Let’s show the world what Christian unity is all about by revealing the heart of Christ and His good news to those we meet.
Read: John 4:23-24, 2 Cor 5:18-19, 1 Cor 6:19
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