In chapter 15 of the ACTIvate adventure, there’s tension in the team… here are my thoughts:
Spiritual Living = Loving despite…
Acts 15 starts with conflict, and ends with conflict. First there’s conflict about religious practices, and then there’s a relational fall-out. The story of the church, and the story of most of our lives, is littered with conflicts, disagreements, offences, etc. Sadly too often the stories also continue with unforgiveness and a refusal to seek reconciliation.
“Love one another as I have loved you. By this will all know that you are My disciples.” is not a suggestion, but the most radical command Christ gave His followers. He literally gave the world the right to judge whether we are His disciples or not, by the way we love one another. If we fail this test, we fail. All the other spiritual stuff we do is multiplied with a fat ZERO and we get nothing. zilch. Surely you don’t want to get a zero? Do you?
Spiritual Living takes “love one another” very seriously.
Remember that there are always 3 things to consider in the way you handle any conflict:
- The issue (Its got to be addressed, but keep it in perspective.)
- The relationship (Jesus demands “love one another” & “forgive” – no exceptions, if’s or but’s…)
- The testimony of Christ (The way we conduct ourselves in reaction to conflict tells our neighbours a much greater story than our fine words ever will..)
This chapter ends with “the churches being strengthened.” These early disciples got over their disagreements about religious practices, and Paul & Barnabas “commended each other to the grace of God” and continued on the mission.
- Have you got some relational conflicts to address?
- Will the church grow and be strengthened, and Jesus glorified, by the way you have and will handle the conflict?
We CAN love! How? Because He first loved us, and by receiving His agape kind of love which He pours out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.