The Gospel birthed the Church, and God defended it.
God will act to preserve the unity (or integrity) of the Church.
God is relentless in his pursuit to give life and bring unity to His people.
The enemy is relentless in his pursuit to kill, steal, and destroy.
God defends His Church… God. Defends. His. Church.
As I reflect on the story of Ananias and Sapphira, I’m struck by how their single act of hypocrisy could have destroyed the Church in its infant state. I cannot imagine the state in which the Church would be today if God had not so radically defended it at that time. And then, I wonder about the state of the Church today. Are we as unified as we could be? Are we of one heart and one mind, devoted to each other, unselfish and trustworthy in our relationships? How is the enemy trying to destroy us?
Then, my thoughts turn toward myself and to my marriage. In what ways am I a hypocrite? How do I try to appear more righteous than I am? When do I hide behind a mask of false pretense? How does that hurt those in relationship with me? How do I allow a spirit of comparison and jealousy breed a spirit of discontent and disunity in our Body?
As some of you (in our Portico Church body) know and others probably do not, James and I were considering leaving Portico. We actually were in the process of telling people that we were leaving and visiting other churches, when God intervened in a most unexpected way. Through an act that I now believe to be an effort to unite His Body, God spoke through a dear friend, who was willing to take off his own mask and share vulnerably his thoughts about us leaving and about our friendship.
Through this process my prayer was that God would unite James and me in our decision of where to attend church. I cannot imagine how disunity in this decision could have destroyed our marriage in its infant state. I believe that God also acts to preserve the integrity of marriage. What the enemy would have liked to use to destroy us, God used to unite us. We are very united in our decision to stay at Portico and in our belief that God is asking us to be intentional this year…intentional in relationships…intentional in ministry involvement…intentional in acts that will unite His Church.
My prayer for Portico Church is that God will unite us, that we will be of one heart and one mind, devoted to each other, unselfish and trustworthy in our relationships. I pray against acts of hypocrisy meant to tear us apart. I pray against a spirit of comparison, jealousy and discontentment. Instead, I pray for acts of encouragement and humility meant to build us up. I pray that we will do our part to preserve the unity of the Church.