“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”
1 Corinthians 1: 10
My kids have entered into the world practice of manipulation. If they ask for something from me, and they don’t like the answer, they go to Paul and ask the same thing in hopes of a response they are looking for. We do the same thing– when we read something in the bible or hear something in church, we either embrace or reject it. Most often we reject the things that make us feel guilty or convicted, and then we may even categorize it in our personal inventory of files labeled “that’s too evangelical” or “that’s not God’s intention” or “that message is perfect for ‘so-and-so’ but not me.” We don’t like sitting in a puddle of discomfort– not even for a minute. We like to be the ones pulling the punches, not waiting for the Holy Spirit to work in us or bring clarity when it’s most needed.
I think sometimes it’s too easy for us to find a way out of someone’s direction or instruction. For my kids, it’s probably because they know Paul and I aren’t always on the same page about things. And for us adults, it’s because we see a huge gap in our spiritual and secular world. It’s easy to pick and choose the ideas or concepts or ways of living that make us feel warm and fuzzy. Remaining focused on God’s vision for us might help us settle on the right decision or answer. Knowing that even in the uncomfortable spaces, God will walk us through and grow us.
God’s hope for us is that instead of turning to someone or something else, we remain focussed on Him. This, He says, will prevent “divisions among you.” By staying focussed on Him, we mitigate the chances of us shifting our loyalty to other people or secular practices. Wow– this, in itself, is convicting.
Similarly, if Paul and I are on the same page all the time, or even allow the other to take over without our own intercession, our kids will know that bouncing between us with the same questions is out of bounds. They’ll know that we’re leading them with the same goal in mind– Jesus’ will for them.