Monday, July 15, 2019

Pastor's Ponderings, July 15, 2019

All Groups Become One In Christ

In the 1961 musical West Side Story, one of the classic songs was, “The Jet Song.”  Some of the lyrics were, “When you’re a Jet, you’re a Jet all the way, from your first cigarette to your last dyin’ day.” Much of today’s sentiments around political group identity seem to be gleaned from these divisive lyrics. Factions have dug in, battle lines have hardened, and former friends cannot even communicate across the vast wastelands of lies, obfuscations, deceptions, and slanted arguments.

Where does this conflict come from?  The Bible says that the infighting does not come from our external circumstances, but they originate in our inner sinful desires (James 4:1, 2).  We must turn our focus to God and away from this world system, which promotes ungodly desires. 

We have to remember that we are not of this or that group.  We are a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) and we must continue to put away bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander and malice (Ephesians 4:31). We are in Christ and because God has already forgiven us, we turn from our various group differences and treat each other with kindness, tenderheartedness and forgiveness (Ephesians 4:32). Today, we are no longer “Jets;” we are one in Christ.

James 4:1, 2
New International Version (NIV)
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 
You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.

2 Corinthians 5:17
New International Version (NIV)
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Ephesians 4:31, 32
New International Version (NIV)
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

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