The devil loves a good church fight. I mean, what better way to decrease the effectiveness of God’s people than divide and conquer. They’re so focused on each other, they’re not even paying attention to the mission and stopping him.
This is why Paul stressed unity in Ephesians 4:1-3.
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient and bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.“
How to do it?
By thinking of others first, yourself last–humility. Patiently dealing with others in an attitude of love, making every effort to keep the peace.
Why is it hard? Well, we talk too much, often about the wrong things. Let’s look at James 3:1-12.
Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.
When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
What’s this mean for me?
It starts off with knowing your place, and the higher standard that authority brings. Read Titus for the high standards placed on spiritual leaders. Jesus says in Matthew 12:36 “that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.”
I know I have a lot to answer for.
Complaints, insults, tearing down, undermining efforts, slandering, and gossiping sets a church on fire. And it starts with just one person who didn’t exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit that is self-control.
James says, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”
Stop it. You’re helping Satan and putting Christians in a bad light when people see you act that way. Think you’re wise and understanding? James has some words for you.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
If you’re bitter and envious, repent and forgive, even if the other won’t. Why? Because Jesus said, “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
It’s that serious. It’s also demonic.
Divide and conquer. Be wise in the way James said, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit (Galatians 5:22-26), impartial and sincere. Become a peacemaker.
You can start by saying two good things for every bad thing you think about a person. That’s the method I use to keep my tongue in check.
No go, be unified against the schemes of the devil.