An Undivided Church

1 Corinthians 1:10 (NLT) I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.

As I read those words, Paul’s plead with the church to live in harmony, to have no divisions. I found myself grieved. His heart was for the church to be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. When we look at the church today and compare it to those words I can’t help but cry out, “Oh God, what have we done?” We are far from united.

A quick google search indicates that there are over 1200 Christian denominations worldwide and I don’t find it too difficult to believe that. Even if that is false and there were only 30 denominations, would that make it better? It depends. Differing denominations don’t necessarily mean division, but many times it does. Certainly, the origin of many denominations was a disagreement so sharp that it was decided we can’t be associated with you anymore and thus disagreement turned to division.

Another verse that grieves me is 1 Corinthians 4:20.

1 Corinthians 4:20 (NLT) For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.

I suppose this verse should be exciting. Yes! The Kingdom God is living by God’s power, except that when I look at the average church I don’t see power. In fact, I see a lot of talk which indicates to me that we are not effectively building the Kingdom of God so much as, well, buildings.

I believe that the reason is, in part, a lack of unity across the body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:30 (NLT) God has united you with Christ Jesus…

1 Corinthians 3:6-8 (NLT) I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work

We are meant to united with God and each other. Working together to be the body of Christ and accomplish the purpose of Christ. We work TOGETHER to accomplish the purpose of God. Yes, only God can produce the fruit, but if we fail to do our part and instead engage in arguments and divisions we effectively halt the mission of God.

1 Corinthians 3:16 (NLT) Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you.

We together are the temple and His Spirit lives in us. This is another scripture that I have often heard individualized. While I do believe Christ lives in me, it’s important to recognize that I alone am not the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27) and cannot function effectively to fulfill God’s purpose by myself. When we come together in unity His Spirit takes up residence. When we come together in unity God’s power is unleashed in our very lives.

It’s time for some self evaluation. Where do you see disunity and division in your local community? Start with yourself, your circle, and move outward. How can you help bring wholeness to divisions? God’s purposes and Spirit are more important than our disagreements. We must come together and disagree well.

More on that in Thursday’s post.

Heart In Action

I grew up in an environment that placed emphasis on being right with God, but little emphasis on what that looked like interacting within our world. The extent of impact from my point of view was, “tell people about Jesus.” Should we tell people about Jesus? Yes! Unequivocally, yes. However, I believe that is not the full extent of how the gospel affects our actions. 

My understanding as a kid lacked balance, what I saw demonstrated was that your prayer life was more important than the way you treated people. How you lived was only important in that you did not sin. In fact, abstaining from sin was far more important than anything else going on in the world. I was told Jesus is the solution to all the problems of the world, but never taught to get involved or to help be the solution, only to pray.

So, when you think of living the Christian life what do you think of? Do you have images of church services, singing worship songs, prayer meetings, bible studies, Christian fellowship? Those are certainly a part of the Chrisitan life, but is that the extent of the images you have? Is your mind also drawn to images of meeting needs, helping the poor, standing up for the oppressed, fighting against injustice?

I confess, too often my mind has failed to connect the second part to my faith and I fear I am not alone. Your prayer life is important. Living a holy life, free from sin is important. However, what good are your prayers and righteousness if it doesn’t drive you to take action? Is your faith only about YOU avoiding hell with no thought of the state of the world?

In the book of James he is incredibly clear that faith without works is dead, yet the message I was drawn to is that it doesn’t matter how much good you do if you don’t have a relationship with God. Now don’t get me wrong. That statement is true, but it’s unbalanced and incomplete. Out of our relationship with God, our lives should produce many good works.

Too often the world doesn’t know we are Christians by our love and the works that love produces, but by our political stances, our boycotts– honestly I’m pretty sure the church invented cancel culture– our condemnation of sins and our fight to protect our rights and religious liberties. Again, I’m not suggesting all those things are unimportant, but is it building God’s Kingdom?

We often uphold “truth in love” and “wounds of a friend” to attack those we disagree with, but the reality is we do not love them and they are not our friends. Is it possible we have a reputation for being bigoted and hateful because… we are? Do you really show love to all people? Or rather could all people feel that love from you? I can certainly remember a time in my life when I would have said, I love gay people, but they would have felt no love from our conversation. I was too afraid of affirming sin to truly demonstrate love for a gay person.

We live in a world full of political causes and stances. As a church, we tend to pick one or two and ignore the rest. I’ve seen people shamed for supporting causes other than pro-life, as if supporting something else means you don’t support life. I believe God gave us a voice and we have a responsibility to use that voice. To actively show love to our world and stand up against injustice, whatever form it takes. To reach out to the poor, the downhearted, the outcast. To actively meet the needs in our community. To live wholeheartedly for Jesus. To demonstrate to the world the love that God has for them.

I’ll wrap this up with a couple of scriptures to think about.

Psalm 78:34-38 (NLT) When God began killing them, they finally sought him. They repented and took God seriously. 35 Then they remembered that God was their rock,  that God Most High was their redeemer. 36 But all they gave him was lip service; they lied to him with their tongues. 37 Their hearts were not loyal to him. They did not keep his covenant.

Amos 5:23-24 ( NLT) Away with your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps. 24 Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living.

God isn’t looking for lip service. God isn’t looking for a good church service. He is looking for people to stand up for righteousness. To truly represent Him in every corner of the earth. To have a heart for God means to have a heart in action. Let’s pursue a deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus. Let us spend time in His presence and may we take His presence with us everywhere we go. May the world come to know Jesus because of how we live our lives. May we actively demonstrate His love to the world, heart in action.

A Friendly Warning | New Devotions Coming Soon

I’m excited to let you know that on Sunday I will begin posting devotions again. I recently added writing back to my morning routine, because I realized it’s good for me. Devotions will be published on Sundays and Thursdays at 5:00 pm, and I’ve already written the ten posts that you’ll read during the month of August, so it’s only fair that I give you an idea of what you can expect.

Well, perhaps it’s more of a warning. Most of my content will be devotional content similar to what I’ve posted in the past. However, some of it will contain tint of challenge and underlying frustration. The reason is, well, I’ve been frustrated. A lot has happened in our world recent times and it hasn’t exactly brought out the best in everyone. Apart from that I’ve been shaken, challenged, and grown a lot in the past few years. I have a lot of thoughts that I feel like I haven’t been able to freely express.

Why? Well, honestly because as I’ve grown and challenged my thinking it’s clear that I have some beliefs that challenge the conservative Christian narrative. Now let me be clear, I am a conservative Christian. None of what I am talking about violates scripture or the core principles I’ve held most of my life. However, it definitely has challenged my approach to listening and learning. I’m at a place where I want to be challenged, because without resistance there can’t be growth. As a result of striving to really understand all sides of issues, I definitely think differently about things than many others in my circle. I’m ok with that, but it’s I don’t expect everyone in my circle to be.

Still, there are some things that I have to say. I will make my best effort to say it with grace and be as balanced and clear as I can. For a long time, I have felt like I’m only allowed to talk about political perspectives that the majority of Christian churches agree with even though I’m not convinced scripture does. The one thing I am most frustrated with is that we (and this isn’t exclusive to Christians, it might just be a natural human trait) have an incredible ability to judge differing opinions without understanding what is being said.

Romans 12:16-18 (NLT) Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

A friend of mine was having a theological debate not too long ago, but they couldn’t get anywhere. She was telling me about the theological her friend was trying to discredit and I was super confused. The idea he was fighting against wasn’t something the she nor anyone I know actually believes. My response was simply this. “So, they’re making up what you believe and arguing against it?”

“Yep.”

This is something I have seen in many disagreements in differing political and theological stances. We make assumptions about what they believe and we fight against it with all we have, never really knowing or understanding what they really believe. The conversations goes nowhere, but offenses have been created.

We also have a nasty habit of only paying attention to information, facts, and data that line up with the narrative we believe. When something goes against our belief, then we either dismiss, discredit, or distort it. We ignore it, call it false, or twist it to fit our narrative instead. It’s ok to disagree and have differing opinions, but until we learn to have honest discourse, where we can recognize opposing views as legitimate, we will only continue to create division in not only our country but our churches as well.

My heart is to see a unified body of Christ building His Kingdom. In a lot of ways, the church is becoming more unified than it has been in recent years. Some denominational boundaries are becoming less important. People are recognizing that we can learn from each other. However, as some things improve it makes the areas where things are stuck, or even moving backward, that much clearer.

Again, most of my content will still be devotional in nature. My primary objective is still to challenge us all to daily pursue Jesus, developing a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him. However, out of that relationship with Jesus, the way we interact with the world will change. It is my hope that we can show the world the love of God and maybe that starts with the way we talk to each other. If the world looks at the church and can only see our divisions, our crazy, our hatred (perceived or not) then it serves to show we have some work to do.

Honestly, at the end of the day maybe what I have to say isn’t even that controversial. What I do know is that I needed to write and it has been incredibly freeing for me to do so. If you feel inclined to read, thank you for doing so. All I ask is that you are patient with me. If I post something that you disagree with, disagree well. Respond respectfully and make every effort to respond to what I say, rather than assumptions about what I said. I’ll do the same.


Thanks so much for reading! I also just launched my youtube account TODAY where I will discuss movies, music, and life. I am hoping to create a community of hope and positivity as I discuss things I’m interested in. If you’d like to support it and check it out the link is youtube.com/chriselewis. I’ll also drop my channel trailer below. Every like, view, comment, and subscribe is a huge help.