In America, most people would consider me to be a black man or an African-American man. Take notice that in both instances race and ethnicity comes first, then “man”. Most people even see themselves as either a black person or a white person and so on. I believe this is a true reflection of how most people think. Most people register race or national origin before they see another human. This is not really a problem unless along with that first observation there come also preconceived ideas about that person’s habits, aptitude, and capabilities. At that point you enter into prejudices and biases that form abusive and divisive barriers. Even though people may have different physical traits, we must be able to connect with them first as equally human. If we see it differently than this, we have been deceived and there is darkness in us.
Those are some thoughts about the general populace. Now let’s consider “The Church,” and I mean “The” Church because there is only one body of Christ. Is the Church anymore unified than the world? Amongst the majority of those confessing to be Christian, I would have to say NO. Just like different races of people, we now have Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Protestant, Presbyterian, Seventh Day Adventist, AME, and it goes on. The religious bodies are even more divided than people with mere physical differences, they have deep convictions of thoughts and beliefs that are different. It is not enough just to be identified as Christian. This is why I don’t subscribe to any denomination. Our God is not divided, so what is the problem with those that supposedly represent Him. There is a disconnect between the body and the head it would seem, because the head (meaning Christ, the only head of the true church) desires for the body to be unified, working together in harmony.
Christ made known His desire for believers to be united as one, just like the unity shared between Him and the Father. John 17:20-23(NKJV):
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
The division amongst the body of believers today is carnal and devilish and until the cross is truly applied to the agendas of men, so that the will of God maybe manifest, it will remain divided. It is my hope that in the near future all of those professing to love Christ will be able to share His love for the truth and then allow that truth to unite them in thought and belief. Our objective must not merely be to be right; our objective should be to be right with God. In a lot of religious communities, they have become right with each other, but they are still misaligned with God. Jesus spent a lot of time in the earth disputing with religious leaders regarding their focus on serving their own sense of righteousness instead of truly being right with God. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and HIS righteousness….” is what the scripture says.
Do you seek to be dominated by God? Are you seeking to give God increasing power over you… your thoughts, behaviors, and aspirations? That is what it means to seek the Kingdom of God and that is what it means to take up the cross of Christ… “not my will but yours be done.” The idea of allowing someone to dominate us or calling someone master meets immediate resistance in our minds due to the fact that the evils of man has diminished our ability to trust. On the other hand, if we are sick and need surgery, we will surrender to a surgeon and get put to sleep allowing total dominance over us. Is anyone more worthy of our trust than God? He wants to perform a healing work in us and needs us to surrender to Him. YESHUA proved himself worthy of our trust when He gave His life as a ransom for us. Since few men have done that for another, I understand the apprehension, but Christ is truly worthy. YESHUA said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matt 16:24-25)
You are not living until you dedicate your life to His purposes instead of your own. A body does not function properly until all its members are correctly processing messages from its head. The Catholic Church says its head is the Pope. I have met Protestants that said the head of their church was pastor such and such or bishop such and such. The bible teaches that the only head of the Church is Jesus Christ, YESHUA HAMASHIACH.
When believers form alliances with each other based on compatibility of individual preferences, we end up with all these factions of religion. On the other hand, if believers lay down individual preferences and focus on transformation through submitting to God’s will, then we can have true unity with God and with one another. The commands of God do not vary person to person. We are all commanded to love God with all of our heart, mind, and strength. Likewise, we are all commanded to love one another as we would like to be loved. The love spoken of here is not abstract or subjective love but love according to the word of God.
When the body of Christ unites in the spirit of truth, the Church will be glorious and powerful. Denominations will lose their significance as we all come in unity of faith and belief as written in Ephesians 4:11-16 (NKJV):
“11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”
What a beautiful vision! This is not a man’s dream but a revelation from the Holy Spirit outlining the vision of Christ for His body. The bible tells us that Christ endured the cross for the joy that was set before him. Now through the abundant gratefulness we all should have for the deliverance brought to us by the cross of Christ, we now need to fulfill His joy by taking up our own crosses in laying down our individual preferences for the corporate interest of the body of Christ. When the bride (the Church) comes forth in her glory, the groom (YESHUA) will rejoice and be filled with gladness.
“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” (Colossians 1:9-18 NKJV)