Laying Down Our Banners of Pride
I have recently become a member of GLGA (Greater Lafayette Gospel Association) which is a group of ministry folks from all over Lafayette and West Lafayette and the surrounding Tippecanoe County areas that gather monthly to pray for unity in the BODY OF CHRIST for the purposes of reaching people for Jesus Christ. It is a blessing to be a part of a group of men and women who are willing to lay down their denominational backgrounds, doctrinal differences, and ideologies for the purposes of bringing fame and glory to Jesus Christ. Its not always easy to do that, and many times groups like this eventually implode or lose steam because someone at some point will push to hard in one direction and the ugly walls of separation show themselves. My experiences in this group so far have been contrary to that. The heart of the group that I have seen so far is to do the best we can to unite the CHURCH of Jesus Christ (the people…the BODY of CHRIST, not a denomination or particular group) toward a focus of LOVE for the lost and hurting and to point those folks to the creator and perfector of our faith Jesus.
What it comes down to, is being willing to lay down our banners of pride. You see I believe that it is our pride that divides us. Pride in our denominational accomplishments, pride in our view of the doctrine and theology of God, pride in ours being the right way of doing things. That same problem can even creep up in our individual churches. We can in our own congregations allow our personal pride and self accomplishment to divide and separate ourselves from each other within the church. Our pride in our own accomplishments gives us that “I’m better than the other person because I did this for God” or “I did this for the church” mentality that can leave us with an elitism that infects the body, and ultimately can destroy it. PRIDE is the tool of Satan, and anyone who celebrates or encourages pride is allowing a foothold for evil.
I think Paul said it best in our text from this past weekend, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a…
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8 Love never fails.
Sometimes…regretfully…even in the church we have allowed ourselves at times to be envious of other’s success, to boast about our accomplishments, we have dishonored folks to make ourselves look better, we have become angry and held grudges against those who have harmed us, and most damagingly, we have allowed ourselves to become prideful. We must drive these things out of our churches…and focus on the things that bring and sustain love… Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, Self-Control, Trust, Hope, Perseverance, all based on the TRUTH of CHRIST, who sets us free.
I encourage you regardless if you are from Brady Lane Church, or a church across town, or even if you are not in a church at all, to examine your heart to determine if you are withholding love and unity with others in Christ because your own pride is getting in the way. If so…please repent and in turn LOVE each other as Christ loved the church…sacrificially and selflessly!