Sunday, October 12, 2008

Glory and Unity

Saved by Your mercy
Found in Your grace
Totally surrendered to Your embrace
And there's nothing more than You

See Your perfection
I'm lost in Your peace
Your faithfulness sings over me
And Your love is the light of my soul

And I lift my eyes to You
Creator of the world

And I stand in awe of You
Of Your glory
And I live to worship You
Son of God, King of heaven

And the angels round Your throne
Cry out holy
To the One who is to come
Hear us sing hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah



The bolded, larger text is the part that gripped my heart the most while singing this in church tonight. And it birthed the most glorious, the most amazing vision God could ever give me.

As we sang " the angels round Your throne cry out holy", God gave me a mental picture. And this picture was of Himself, throned in grace, in light, in beauty. Everything was perfect. Everything was beautiful. Everything was majestic and beyond what I've ever known or seen on this earth. Glorious, glorious. There were angels surrounding Him, praising Him, lifting high with loud voices proclamations of God's glory, of His holiness. I saw a worthy King receiving the most glory by beautiful creatures bowing at His name. I then saw myself, standing before the throne. I was clothed in filth - literally. I had holes in my attire, stains, ripped clothing, dirt all over my body. I looked like trash. I was so small before the throne. I was but a speck. I saw God, step off of His throne, throw off His glorious robe, place His hand under my chin, pull it up towards Him, and smile at me. He picked me up. And then He stepped down from Heaven and became a man. I then watched as He was beaten, bruised, torn, shattered, mocked, flogged, nailed to a cross, and eventually brought to His death. I saw filth swarm His body as He hung, bled, and died. My mind then simultaneously watched God sit in His glory, on His throne, while I continued to see Him beaten and bruised. I watched both images, and began to tear up.
God had everything, was everything. He was glory in itself. He was the epitome of beauty, of majesty. He was content, glorious and glorified. Everything around Him, perfection. Holiness covered Him. Yet, in all of that, having everything and being everything, He chose to step out of that, to leave it, and to become a filthy disgusting man of sin on a cross so that I could be with Him. And in that moment, at church, with this vision in my head, I was broken and humbled. I stood, knowing I was empty and nothing, knowing that God loved me enough to give up His majesty for a while and trade it in for every abomination and filthy thing I have made myself to be to take upon Himself, to become it. In that moment, gratefulness overwhelmed my soul as I praised my God and ended the song with numerous 'Hallelujahs'.


Beauty and Glory.




***


Tonight's sermon was one that hit close to home - ironically close. It was titled "Unity" and, as you would have guessed it, was on the subject of being unified with the body of Christ - all of it. Pastor Mike preached on not giving place to the devil (Ephesians 4:27) by allowing division to come between you and another believer over anything.

Why do we become so divided?

I am so very sad and even heartbroken to admit that I have so, in my flesh, allowed divisions to slip in between another believer and myself in so many circumstances, so many times. I have allowed mainly theology to overrule my thinking so much so that when another born again believer of Jesus Christ did not align with what I believe, I've separated. I've allowed this to ruin friendships, I've allowed it to put divisions between me and my parents, and I've even allowed it to break up an amazing relationship between myself and a great christian guy. Tonight made me really beat myself up over the fact that I have a hard time making unity where unity needs to be made. As the body of Christ, we are to have one passion and that passion needs to be Jesus. If theology is causing a split, you need to re prioritize. Jesus needs to be the focus; Jesus must always be the center. And the moment that anything comes in the way of that, throwing believers in separate directions, that thing needs to be tossed to the side and Jesus needs to take place - front and center. I repent for ever causing division of myself when another person did not line up with me - because I've done it so many times. The body of Christ was never intended for divisions. It was never intended for theological differences. It was never intended for denominations. It was intended to serve Christ as one, being of one accord, sharing the gospel with the world. That is the purpose of the body of Christ. That is the purpose of godly friendships, relationships, and even marriages. Pastor Mike said this;



"Unity is not the absence of arguments, but the working through arguments. Unity is not the absence of challenges, but the working through challenges."



I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Ephesians 4:1-6




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

We cannot glorify God when we are constantly taking sides against one another. God is not glorified in our theological debates. He is glorified when His people come together to be like-minded. Friendships don't glorify God with debates and divisions. Relationships and marriages do not glorify God with debates and divisions. Being of one heart and one mind is what will ultimately glorify God by His people and that is the prayer of my heart from now on - that all believers I come in contact with, enter friendships with, enter relationships with, and eventually enter into marriage with will be with me in unity and like-mindedness for the glory of God. We can keep our theology. We can keep our differences. But we should always, at all costs, avoid divisions in the body. And if our theology causes such, we need to throw it to the side and put Jesus in it's place.


Unity. It just sounds glorious.
And I witness it every time I step into the doors of First Assembly of God. It's beautiful.

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