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Instrument of Peace

Instrument of Peace

Words of Faith 9-5-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Philippians 4  

[1] Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!   [2] I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. [3] Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

 

       Do Christians really have to get along?  There is a popular thought and saying these days that it is fine for us to "agree... to disagree.”  Isn't that a peaceable way to get along?  Or is there more? 

       Paul calls some dear friends in the church he founded to rise to a higher level.  Apparently, two ladies in the church had a significant conflict.  They were dear ladies who had "contended at his side,” founder types.   Two thousand years later we don't have a clue what the conflict was, but we know the name of these disagreeable ladies.

       The conflict may have been over almost anything that church folks tend to disagree.  Apparently, it was a big enough deal to gotten all the way to Paul sitting in a jail, in Rome.  The exasperated leadership of the Philippian church had likely written Paul asking for help in this matter. 

       No, we don't have to agree about every little thing.  But there is a point where our pride gets in the way, and we can't turn loose.  We forget what the feud was even about and we are just plain disagreeable with a person.  This must have been such a situation.  Paul urges, pleads, and exhorts these two to get their eyes off themselves, see the damage they are doing to the church, and AGREE with each other, in the Lord. 

       Snap out of it!  Get over it!  End it! Find some agreement. By the way, it is always the bigger person who forgives and move forward first.

      The truth is that if two people earnestly seek the mind of Christ, they can't end up too far apart.  The problem is we can do a lot of selfish things that are cloaked in churchy language.  Paul even urges a church member Syzgus, which means "yokefellow,” to enter in and mediate the mess.  That is leadership. 

        Frankly, conflict is the stuff that the devil thrives on. It is not Kingdom stuff.  The world looks in and laughs as we tear each other apart in the church.  But it is not something to be politely left alone.  Courageous Christian faith must take the risk to butt in and help get things reconciled.  Usually, when the dust settles, if we can even remember what the conflict was about, we discover that people of faith who are saved by grace have MUCH to agree about. 

      So how about it?  Where are you in this picture?  Are you Euodia or Syntyche?  Have you been feuding over the nursery list or the last carpet color, or the budget choir robes or clapping in church?  Snap out of it!  The Kingdom is too near.  There is no time for it.  Find some agreement and build from there. 

        Or are you Loyal Syzgus?  Loyal Yokefellow, pillar of the class, supporter of the church, kindly Deacon of the Board?  That is fine, but have you been standing back while a festering feud is robbing your church of energy? 

       The truth?  NOTHING STEALS THE ENERGY, JOY, PASSION, AND VISION OF A CHURCH LIKE CONFLICT.   (Was that emphasized enough?)   Is there a battle zone in your church body that you have politely tolerated?  A place no one has wanted to enter into? A disagreement that steals weekly from the offering of God's people? 

       If someone had their hand in the plate, we would shout.  What conflict steals from God's church is far more valuable than the weekly collection.  Paul exhorts YOU and ME to get involved.  Paul calls us to a higher level.  Don't give the devil the victory another day.  Make the call. 

 Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace.  Amen.

 

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.  

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