So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you
Having changed my life almost entirely, by stripping away my normal comfort zones, I was reading my Bible and I happened into this part of Ephesians. Paul is talking to them about how to relate to themselves, and the world in this very simple passage, but it’s really talking about the unity of the Christian Body. Now, having said that, I will state that I am now a part of a Bible School that has many theologically different believers that are unifying to study with Christ as the center of their education. It’s a small community, but it has high impact on the believer because you are sworn to specific rules and regulations that aren’t apart of the secular world. Here there is the atomosphere of unity, and cohesive living, maintained by the smiliar aspects that we’ve all bound ourselves to. However, there is room for growth because of the mixing of different idealogical beliefs that are present in this community. It really is what Paul was writing about, the concept of trying to create the atmosphere that we’re all one unified body of believers.
But here is the ultimate challenge to any human Christian believer! Will you be able to live in harmony with that one body if the other person’s belief is different from your own. Some people believe that speaking in tongues is passe while others believe that rules stated in the Bible are ‘bendable’. That is why Paul is describing to Christians that they should be different from the World. The world would be trying to challenge those beliefs and others would be trying to slam their ideas down as fact. This is not how Christians are supposed to be.We are supposed to be open to the ideas of other believers, compare it to the Word of God, and see if it is within accordance to the Word. It reminds me of the phrase my Daddy always said “Eat the watermelon, Spit out the seeds.” We are to accept believers together because we are all one body of Christ. Their way is their way of reaching to God, but you do not need to judge their walk or try to convince them that your way is superior. I am seeing that so long as we are truely trying to serve Jesus, we should be able to labour together with the different idealogies of Christianity. If it hinders the Gospel, don’t do it! But if it is glorifying Jesus’ scarifice, or giving God all the glory of His works, then by all means join together! Christians are the working, living, breathing body that Christ created to show the world there is hope! There is a chance you can save yourself, through Christ Jesus’ salvation. Walk a different lifestyle than those around you.
The moment we as people put our judgement on the work of God, you begin to have the attitudes the Sadducees, Pharisees, and Scribes took. You path to righteousness is the sole path there. However, how can you judge a person’s heart when they are truly seeking Jesus out through their own idealogical belief. Sure, they may be Baptist, but Baptists can seek Jesus out as well! I say, if any person is truly seeking out Jesus and God’s will in their life to the best of their own abilities, and with the grace that God supplies them with, then so be it. I will not rain on their parade, however I will agree to disagree. There are somethings that are so evident, but some do not choose to believe, but all I ask is that you not rain on my parade either. The Holy Spirit is very much alive, and God does still perform miracles, and gives us our grace walk.
Do not let your opinions stir anger in your heart, do not dwell on the differences that make us stubborn. If you let your heart be open to learning from others, then you will be more like Christ. Keep Christ as the center of all your actions…which is the ultimate challenge for any believer. The catch phrase “What Would Jesus Do?” really is critical when in an environment where there are varied theological beliefs. WWJD all the way! Prayer, and dilberate studies about Christ will also help you keep your center.
So my summary:
Walk in peace with our own bretheren, and you will have more understanding…
Walk in harmony with our brothers in Christ and you will see more glory than ever…
Walk with Christ, and serve those around you.