Reclaim the Unity ~ Disband the Fight Club

I have this gadget thingy in my office that doesn’t work. Or more accurately, one that doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. It’a massager I received as a Christmas gift when I was having trouble with the IT band in my leg following one of my knee replacements. The device was meant to enable me to massage the troublesome area without adding that to my physical therapy visits. It worked fine at first, but then it decided that after about 30 seconds, it had apparently done enough and would simply stop. After that, it would need to be charged for hours — and then it would work again for only another few seconds. To say the least, its blessing was short-lived, sort of like having a huge helping of delicious blackberry cobbler and finding a dead horsefly in the bottom of the dish. So it sits in my office, functioning only as another reason for me to get irritated (which is totally unnecessary, you know, since I have plenty of those doing a pretty bang-up job already). 

An Unexpected Connection ~
Okay, I realize that my little piece of handheld exasperation is a minor and insignificant issue at best. But I figured that anything capable of extorting that much of my attention must have a spiritual lessonfight club.1 woven into it somewhere. Sure enough, it helped direct my mind to an issue that isn’t minor at all. It occurred to me that if it bothers me when things don’t work the way they were designed to, maybe God has a similar reaction when the same thing happens to Him. I wonder what He might think about the performance of the Church of Jesus Christ in America right now.

As a nation, we are awash in more crises than we’ve faced at one time in my lifetime. Every day we see new examples of random, unprovoked, and sometimes deadly violence on our streets. Insane economic policies are financially crippling millions of families. There is an invasion of people from around the world pouring into our country and being handed benefits paid for by citizens like us who are trying to survive on our shrinking paychecks. So-called educational and medical facilities are denying parental authority as they expose our children to pornographic material, subject them to sexual and emotional manipulation, and perform unauthorized and often irreversible medical procedures on them. 

One Prominent Issue ~
To look at all this and suggest that we who comprise the Church in America are doing our job as Jesus intended would question our capacity for rational thought. Obviously, lots of contributing factors could be pointed out, but given the atmosphere in the country right now, one that is prominent concerns me most. In the weeks leading up to the 2022 Congressional election, we will, no doubt, see an intentionally enhanced and very graphic illustration of what a nation divided against itself looks and feels like. Obviously, that same contentious spirit can invade the Body of Christ and enhance more paralyzing division. 

When it comes to carrying out the mission that Jesus commissioned His followers to fulfill, it is impossible to overstate the importance of functional, interactive, unified relationships with one another. Referring back to my frustrating little machine again for a moment, it isn’t enough that the parts are all fight club.2intact and located inside the case. In order to work properly, the different components also must be properly aligned and connected with one another. None of the parts are just tossed in the case independent of the others. If the unified design breaks down at some point, the power doesn’t reach its objective and nothing moves. Connection failures can cause the entire mechanism to be rendered ineffective and pragmatically useless. Similar failures can have the same effect on the Body of Christ, as well. 

Muted and Ineffective ~
It hurts me to say it, but as a whole, the Church in America appears to have become pragmatically ineffective in the matter of resisting sin and repelling the evil practices consuming our people. We have become so fractured, fragmented, disconnected, divisive, and functionally isolated from one another that we have ceased to be seen or thought of as the Church. We are no longer thought of in singular terms. In the minds of most, including many of our own, we are generally thought of as a scattered hodgepodge of mostly small congregations that have little to no interactive, cohesive relationships with one another. Small wonder, then, that if the voice of the Church hasn’t been virtually silenced altogether, it either lacks a coherent message, gets lost in the pointless cacophony of internal squabbling, or is simply ignored. 

God was not ambivalent about how important unity is to Him, both in the context of local assemblies and the collective whole. He highlights the necessity of it through directives like these: (see also Philippians 1:27; 3:16; Romans 12:16):

 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).

Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 15:5–6 NKJV).

Time to Stand Up Together ~
The general culture surrounding us is looking more and more like a spiritually-diseased moral and ethical swamp, and instead of presenting a challenge to that trend, millions are turning away from affiliation with any church or professed religion. Christians, especially those still courageous enough to affirm a belief that the Bible is the authoritative Word of God, are openly mocked. The “woke” crowd lectures us about tolerance and decries any disagreement as “hate speech.” Entertainers, media elites,fight club.3a academic snobs, and internet trolls join them and have a field day making fun of us. Followers of Jesus are disdained by many as ignorant, backward rubes whose opinions are unworthy of serious consideration. It’s time for all of us to climb out of our denominational and ecclesiastical bunkers and take an honest look at the broader picture. It’s also time to stop making excuses and take God’s admonitions about unity personally.  Let me share a few practical suggestions to consider as the conflicts escalate in the days and weeks ahead:

    • We must be careful to keep the distinctions clear between Biblical issues and purely political ones.
    • Remember that spiritual fellowship is to be based on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, not one’s political choices, denominational affiliation or preferences in worship or music. 
    • Recognize that unity is not achieved by uniformity. Unity involves the heart, not just the hat we wear or the bumper sticker on our car. 
    • When disagreements arise, take the core issues to the Word of God and search for solutions there. 
    • Unity costs, and the sacrifices that come with it begin with us. Unity isn’t achieved by waiting for someone else to take the first step. 
    • Resist the enemy’s efforts to muzzle us with fear or hamstring us with external appearances. It’s the love of Christ that binds us together, and we are His means of distributing and maintaining it. 

A Distorted Image ~
Jesus’ death and resurrection secured the offer of redemption for each of us, but a lost world that didn’t know Him needed to hear that. He chose a group of mostly unrelated people with different backgrounds, fight club.4skills, and interests to take His message and display His love. In spite of their differences, His Spirit knit them together into one life-transforming, world-changing, cohesive family unit – and every succeeding generation has been offered the same power and tasked with the same mission. But now, a couple of millennia later, we’ve allowed our differences to distort our image and confuse our message. Our assemblies often look more like a fight club than a family. 

The love that bound us together through 2,000 years of trials and triumphs still lives, and it can enable each of us to be agents of change in this critical time. It begins by surrendering our personal preferences just as Jesus did before sacrificing everything for us. May God help us to reclaim our unity by joining with Him and declaring once again, “Nevertheless, not my will, but Thine will be done!”


“TWEETABLES” ~ Click to tweet and share from the pull quotes below.  Each one links directly back to this article through Twitter . . .

    • “To carry out Jesus’ mission for his followers, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of functional, interactive, unified relationships.  If the unified design breaks down, the power doesn’t reach its objective & nothing moves.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
    • “It’s time for all of us to climb out of our denominational and ecclesiastical bunkers and take an honest look at the broader picture. It’s also time to stop making excuses and take God’s admonitions about unity personally.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet) 
    • “Remember that spiritual fellowship is to be based on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, not one’s political choices, denominational affiliation or preferences in worship or music.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet) 
    • “Resist the enemy’s efforts to muzzle us with fear or hamstring us with external appearances. It’s the love of Christ that binds us together, and we are His means of distributing and maintaining it.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
    • “Jesus chose a group of mostly unrelated people with different backgrounds, skills and interests to take His message and display His love. His Spirit knit them together into one life-transforming, world-changing, cohesive family unit. ” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)

Check out Ron’s book“Right Side Up Thinking in an Upside Down World ~ Looking at the World through the Lens of Biblical Truth” 

 The Kindle e-version is just $1.99. No Kindle device is needed. E-book readers are included on most computers, tablets, and smartphones. If you don’t have one, the free Kindle app can be easily downloaded directly from the Amazon site on almost any device.

Click here for a “Look Inside” preview at Amazon.


© 2022 Gallagher’s Pen, Ronald L. Gallagher, Ed.S.  All rights reserved.

About Ron Gallagher, Ed.S

Author, Speaker, Bible Teacher, Humorist, Satirist, Blogger ... "Right Side Up Thinking ~ In an Upside Down World" For Ron's full bio, go to GallaghersPen.com/about/
This entry was posted in Faith, Family, and Culture, Humor Turned to Insight, Insights, Right Side Up, Wake Up Calls and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Reclaim the Unity ~ Disband the Fight Club

  1. I’m so impressed with what J. D. shared, and what you said in response, Ron, I’m not even going to try to compete (nor should I :)). Just know that I’ve been ruminating over this whole concept of what it means to love like Jesus and live a life that consistently puts God first. That is the goal for myself, and dare I say, should be the ultimate goal for every Christian. We live life to the fullest only when we submit to God’s will for us.
    The church may be in the world, but isn’t supposed to be part of it. Many pastors would do well to encourage their flocks to focus on the love that binds not the lies that divide. Only love can conquer hate.
    Blessings, my friend, and thank you for another spirit-filled post!

    Like

    • You are such a blessing, Martha. The way you share the gifts God has given you, the fearless example you set, and the gracious way you encourage all of us is a love gift from God for which we cannot praise Him enough. The darker it gets in this spiritually diseased nation, the more we treasure you and the connection we feel with the many others who are blessed and strengthened by your ministry. We know that where we fit and how we function in His Body is His choice, not ours–but I’m just glad He positioned us in a way that allowed us to get to know you and to stand in the ranks along with you. We’ll hang on together and keep refusing to quit as long as we have breath. Thanks again for brightening our day.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. JD Wininger says:

    “Where’s that hidden microphone? I just know Mr. Ron is somehow listening in on my prayers? Oh, it’s You Lord? Putting the same burden on many hearts again are you? 🙂 Thanks for the affirmation that my prayers are being heard Abba.”

    You must have been wringing your hands, smiling, and laughing that “Mr. Ron laugh” thinking of how your words this week was going to wake me up my friend J.D. I join you in praying that your words will awaken the sleeping giant that is Christ’s church. I too believe that Satan has lulled us, the body of Christ, into a comatose state of inactiveness though his “Four D’s” as I call them.
    • Disappointment–Any time we look to people as our standard, we can be disappointed. We are distracted by what is happening around us instead of what God could be doing within us.
    • Discouragement–When we dwell on disappointments, it often leads to discouragement. But God has given us the Holy Bible, His plan and His promises to encourage us.
    • Doubt–Discouragement, left unchecked, leads to doubt.
    • Division–Doubts and worries can lead to division of our loyalty to God. This often leads to sowing division between people and results in distancing ourselves and others from God.

    Through the centuries, Satan has so effectively distracted the church from Christ’s intended goal, that we have become (as you so aptly stated in last week’s post), an ineffective fighting force. We are mere children who want to squabble among ourselves instead of subjecting ourselves to the strengthening, conditioning, training, and maturity needed to be the leaders God intends us to be. In doing so, Satan has rendered us to be a “Toothless Alligator”. Oh, we’re fierce looking with our armored exteriors, but we’re afraid to open our mouth because you’ll realize that we’ve been rendered highly ineffective and unable to mount a serious assault. We might chase you and make a little noise (a low growl), but you’ll laugh at us in the same way Satan does because you realize we have no bite!

    I try not to get too political these days, cause all it serves to do is raise my blood pressure, but if the true body of Christ unified along Christ’s teachings, then we could form such a powerful voting bloc that no candidate could ever win without our approval. Until the Millennial reign of Christ, I don’t think that can happen because we can’t even agree within our own church house most of the time. Much less as a community of churches, a region, state, or nation.

    Often called “The Greatest Generation”, Americans and our God-fearing allies took on the powers of evil and prevailed against the darkness. Not because of our overwhelming skill and warfighting ability, but because we banded together and worked toward a common goal of defeating the enemy. God blessed our nations as we kept our eyes and hearts upon Him. Ever wonder why we haven’t clearly and decisively defeated any enemy since World War II? Since that time, perhaps in the decades of my lifetime, Christian values (not just in America, but across the world) have been slowly eroding to the point that we spend more time focused on getting what we want from this short life than we do focusing on what God wants for us for ETERNITY.

    Forgive me if I cross a line here my friend, but I believe much of the so-called church today is apostate, and as such it has become infiltrated and filled with worldliness and political correctness. Some are led from following God’s Word and the moral standard it sets, and others are so afraid to offend someone by speaking truth in God’s love that they acquiesce to the worldly demands that fill many pews. The problem, we want to be liked more than we want to be holy unto God.

    Gonna get down from my soapbox and slink back into my little corner of sanity I call the Cross-Dubya brother. Sure pray that one day, I can invite you and your Ms. Diane over for supper and to share a few moments in prayer with you for this nation and world. I too fear that the coming Rapture of the Church will leave a great many pompous, self-righteous, confused Christians standing around going, “What just happened? Why am I still here?” I think that since their minds are already deceived, it will be easy for them to accept the government lies about what just occurred and why a small percentage of the Christian church has disappeared. God’s blessings my friend. Apologies again for the length, but you started it with your post. 🙂

    Like

    • Wow…, Brother–if that’s a soap box, feel free to climb up on it any time the Spirit moves you and stay as long as you want. This is another one of those responses that ought to be published on its own. Mrs. Diane is gonna say, “Just cut it and paste it and we’ll run it next week.” We are so on the same page regarding the status of the Church in America these days. We’ve got too many people parking themselves on a pew for an hour or two a week, but spending more than that every day being mesmerized by the media, traumatized by Twitter and TicToc, and seduced by a ceaseless stream of sensuality in movies, music, and YouTube videos. Meanwhile Bibles lay around gathering dust and the spiritual landscape looks like a dried up, fruitless desert. And, by the way, your illustration of the progression from disappointment to division has God’s fingerprints all over it and absolutely needs to be shared in as many places as we can find. If you’ve written more on it, let me know and I’ll re-publish it. If not, one of us needs to get that done. Beyond that, I also totally agree that when the Lord takes us out of here, there’s going to be a multitude of so-called Christians wondering what happened. But unfortunately, I think most (probably all) of them will be so used to believing lies already, that falling in line to declare their allegiance to the Anti-Christ will feel natural.

      Anyhow, once again I’m shouting a loud AMEN! and Praise God! for a warrior with the courage to not only speak the truth, but to live out visible definitions of it every day. Once again you’ve brought inspiration and encouragement into our lives and it feels like we just got another spiritual vitamin B-12 shot. We’re continuing, of course, to pray for God’s sovereignty over everything at the Cross-Dubya and that His personal presence will attend every step in the path ahead for you and your Mrs. Diane. When you guys get to a space that works, just let us know. We’ve got our knives and forks ready and our appetites in gear for that dinner we’re going to share. 🙂

      Like

Share your thoughts . . .

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s