Sharing the Vision

“I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit that is on you and put the Spirit on them. They will help you carry the burden of the people so that you will not have to carry it alone.” –Numbers 11:17 (NIV)

Working together in a group setting can often come with its disadvantages. Conflicting personalities, differing expectations, and a lack of unity can not only serve to hinder productivity, but create a very unpleasant environment in the process. That is why we can sometimes be so loathe to working with others, fearing that our vision will not be realized and thinking that it would be better if we did not entrust others with our aspirations. But what a joy it is when people work together in unity! Grasping a common vision everyone diligently works together towards that vision no matter the disappointments and failures. When the successful end result is achieved every member of the group is satisfied, echo one celebrating the victories gained and congratulating each other on a job well done.

God has placed within each and every one of us a vision. Those good and pleasing plans and ambitions which we cherish come from Him who assures us that He works to give us hope and a future. However, we may not trust others with this vision and keep it to ourselves thinking that if we get others involved they will only ruin it for us. Yet what often is the case is that God has given us a vision that was not meant to be borne by ourselves. Rather, for it to be fulfilled He requires that we allow others whom He has strategically placed to help carry out His perfect will for us. If we jealously guard our dreams and desires, we turn them into idols that will only serve to hinder the work God is doing through us. But if we surrender every area of our lives to Christ, giving back to Him the desires He has placed in our hearts, He will lead us to others who have caught the same vision He has given us so that His will may be fulfilled.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Why We Must Love

“From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.” –Acts 17:26 (NIV)

Ethnic violence is still an ever present reality for many in the world. Even after the Holocaust, the civil rights movement in America, and the collapse of apartheid in South Africa, racial hatred continues to persist. The programs of one ethnic group to eliminate another, the bloody reprisals of the oppressed, together they form a cycle of bloodshed and injustice that is both tragic and horrifying. Faced with these issues, where do we begin to respond? We are all taught that racism in all its forms is wrong. But why is it wrong? Is it merely because it is a nasty and ignorant attitude to adopt, or is there a much deeper reason? To answer this question, one needs to look at humanity through the eyes of God.

Each and every one of us born into this world is created in the image of God. As an expression of His creativity, He has made us all unique; having varied physical characteristics and speaking different tongues. But these differences do not nullify the fact that before God we are all equal, both as cherished bearers of His image and as fallen creatures in need of His redemptive power. Like our forefather Adam, we have all chosen to rebel against Him and indulge in our sinful desires. This even includes turning against one another either in thought, word, or action, and in effect spitting upon those whom God has lovingly created. But God does not want us to be bound to our sin. He knows the destruction that it will cause both to ourselves and to the people around us. That is why He sent His Son, Jesus Christ so that all, regardless of who they are, may come to Him and be saved from their sin. If Christ has shown such impartial love, what right do we have to withhold it from others? When we have allowed Christ to enter our lives and seek to conform ourselves to Him, we will see with new eyes. Through Him we will understand that all men are precious in His sight, each of whom God has a specific plan for, and in need of His grace.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Don’t Run Away!

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” –Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)

A lack of unity at a critical point has often decided the outcome of battles. The victorious army is the one which, despite the situation, maintains itself as a dedicated and cohesive fighting force. Its members do not simply run away or defect to the other side when confronted with danger or when it all seems like an uphill struggle. A loyal solider serves both the commanding officer placed over him, and his fellow comrades. He puts aside his personal conflicts with others so that they may fight together as one. The army which will lose however is the one where soldiers desert and fail to lend their aid when it is needed most.  Such an army will never win if its members fail to rally together and fight so that they may carry out their mission.

Sometimes we may become discouraged when we see people around us who profess Christ with their mouths but not with their hearts. We wonder why they do not seem to get it, and the temptation is to wish that we would withdraw away from their hypocrisy and ignorance. But it is in these moments when Christ calls us to allow His truth to shine all the more. Being reclusive will not help anyone. Instead it deprives both ourselves and others of the opportunity to be blessed by the work of Christ. As His children, we are called to stand together in one spirit, serving each other just as how Christ serves us. When we allow His Spirit to enter our lives and seek to abide in Him, He will direct our steps and attitudes. Guided by His Spirit we will know that the days are short and that we cannot waste time arguing and drawing ourselves away from each other. Rather when His love is being made manifest in us, we will be able to love and help build up those around us so that we may be the people of hope and righteousness Christ has called us to be.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.