Wherever there is a chance of celebrating God’s glory and sharing His love, we can be sure the devil will do his best to divide us.
As a church, we are usually looking for ways of bringing our community together. We prayerfully seek ways of building relationships to impact lives with the transforming power of Christ for the growth of God’s kingdom. Some events we hold as a church may not be news worthy enough to get Satan’s attention, some events have been held annually without power for so long they have lost his interest. It’s when we step out in the Spirit, when we pursue something more creative than our own ideas, that we begin to see him sneaking around our congregations. It’s when we put a lot of energy, resources, and faith into promoting and serving our community that we are sure to feel his attack. I don’t believe there is a church alive today that doesn’t have an idea of what I am talking about.
Our congregation recently held a community event that stressed the seams of our traditional little church. It was not about bringing people through our doors. It wasn’t about raising funds for ourselves or preaching at others. It was an actual community event held on our church’s premises for the sole purpose of giving the community something wholesome and fun to do as a family and show our gratitude to the community servants in our area.
Satan’s attacks began almost immediately. The idea was presented quickly, an answer was needed immediately, and a vote was taken with only a marginal number of the congregation present. The result split our people into three different camps: those who supported the idea, those who did not support the idea, and those who were still trying to decide where they fell.
I believe you know what happens between different camps of people during a conflict. The talk within small groups around our church could no longer be classified as edifying. Ideas clashed and were made more of than they deserved. Old wounds were brought up and reopened. New wounds were pierced open. People questioned whether this was actually a good idea. Were we going lose members over this? Was it all worth it? Was it God’s will, or was He trying to tell us not to go ahead with this idea?
This passage was what I had to be reminded of. Our prayer warriors fought on their knees for our congregation, and slowly quite a few of the rest of us joined them. People let go of their pride and stepped away from the different camps we’d been hiding in. Those who chose not to attend had their own experience, but those who attended and served can honestly say it was worth it. There was a little bad weather on two of the three days, but we are still telling about the blessings we witnessed over that weekend. I saw the glory of God at its finest, and I am most grateful for the new relationships I saw forged.
Father God, in You we are united. You are mighty and above all things. May we all know the blessing of stepping out in faith and in unity to reach into our communities and forge relationships with those who live around us with the saving grace and love of your son Jesus. Help us to have patience with one another as we do this. Help us to be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ Jesus You have forgiven each one of us. (Ephesians 4:32) Thank You. Amen.