Choosing the Startling Beauty that Defeats Disunity

devo-looking to jesus

In a moment like Covid and its aftermath, churches and Christians will be tempted to try anything and everything to recapture momentum and reignite the hearts of people.

What they need to do is the one thing that they probably have neglected to do. Love one another as Christ loved them. It’s that simple and that complex. It’s the startling beauty that defeats disunity. We see it in 1 Thessalonians.

God's people have endured a great conflict of sufferings. The answer to healing the wounds of the shrapnel that remains is to forbear and forgive, repent and reconcile, love Jesus the most, and then love all people. The deep creases and chasms of disunity caused by our depravity have driven wedges between families, friends, and the family of God. The battle lines have been drawn in our hearts, homes, and the household of God. Yet, where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more (Rom. 5:20).

Greater still, the Word is authoritative and conscience-binding. The answer lies in remembering who loves you. We love because God first loved us (1 John 4:19). He initiated the relationship. That new commandment that Jesus gave is meant to be reapplied often (John 13:34-35). It was built to take us from start to finish. It is binding on us at every point in the Christian life.

Sometimes it will look like going back and making things right. Sometimes it will mean just moving forward in a healthy manner. In every instance, it will be looking to Jesus the author and perfector of our faith. Either way, we cannot pretend as if it’s business as usual and that nothing has happened. We cannot say “peace, peace” where there is no peace. We cannot dwell on the past and nurse our wounds. We must actively love and lovingly heal, wielding the sword of the Spirit and giving it freely and accurately.

This is how we will contend for the faith once for all delivered. It's the most loving thing to do. It's how the super-abundant grace of God is displayed in our lives. This is how we must wait for Jesus to return, with an urgent love in light of His imminent appearance. This is how we will heal from the ongoing battle, by the comforting, consoling, convicting love of Jesus. We will not be lulled to sleep by complacency or hardened in our hearts by disunity, we will yield to Christ and work to experience the beautiful blood-bought unity that is ours in Christ.

The answer is not to try harder in your pain, but to trust Jesus in your pain. Do what He expects and enables you to do. Don’t give up, keep praying dependently, preaching the Word boldly, and humbly working with people. Trust the saving grace of Jesus to sustain you!