Ephesians 2:16-18 MSG
“Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father.”
How much easier is it to get a task done with a good friend? No matter how difficult the task, a good friend’s help can make it enjoyable. When I try to work out on my own, I never push myself as hard or as long. That hour of cardio turns into 40 minutes. But, when I get someone to come with me, or even get someone stronger than me to train me, they will not only keep me accountable but also challenge me to continue long past when I would have stopped. Bringing someone with me means, they will learn my strengths and weaknesses and can stretch me in a way I could never do on my own.
The same is true in our everyday life. We are so much better with people. People we let get to know our strengths and weaknesses. People we let give us a new perspective.
Let go of any hold ups you still have keeping you from community. Forgive the people you need to forgive and really let it go. You cannot walk in unity while you are still holding someone else as your enemy – while you are still excluding them from your community.
I know people are hard. They’re messy. They don’t always make the right decisions. And, sometimes, they hurt you deeply. Sometimes, we are the ones doing the hurting. But, we are still called to love. We are still called to walk in community through the awkward and hard moments.
In Philippians, Paul responds to the people taking advantage of his imprisonment to improve their own standing. Maybe they said he deserved to be where he was. Maybe they said he was a liar. We’ve all been there. At our lowest point when people who have heard little bits about our situation decide to embellish it and spread it. Even in this terrible moment, we can look to Paul as our example. To his fellow pastors what did he say? He was glad that no matter their motives the gospel of Jesus was spreading through his situation and their message.
Instead of getting angry and dividing the community even further, Paul focused on the good and chose unity over division. If Paul doesn’t separate himself from the people who stepped on him while he was down, that should be our cue that setting ourselves up as anyone’s enemy is not what God had in mind for our lives.
We live in a world that constantly wants to categorize and divide. Don’t let that stream of thinking seep into your life. As Christians, we are Christ’s ambassadors. Called to bring the love of heaven here to earth. An ambassador is someone sent on behalf of a country. They are someone the country trusts to represent them well.
Jesus came to break down the barriers for everyone. He didn’t die more for one set of people than the other. In Christ, there is no more categorization. Anyone who chooses to accept God’s forgiveness can have it.
Jesus is the great peace maker. He came to set us right with God. In him, we trade our differences for peace. He abolished once and for all the idea of outsiders and insiders. When we let go of all the differences, all the perceived slights, all the things holding us back from trusting others – that’s when we can truly get to work on what matters. Spreading God’s love.
We can do all that we are called to do but we can’t do it alone. It’s only when we link arms with those around us and stop trying to do everything on our own that we can reach our full potential. Together we will spur each other on to do bigger and greater things then we would ever think to do alone.
Devoted Devotional By Jessica-Rae