Today’s verse tells us that God gives a variety of gifts to believers within the church that are to be used to build up the church and further the mission. The gifts are different just as the parts of our physical bodies are different, but they are designed to work together to be a presence for good in the world. The Holy Spirit is to be our guide. So, if that’s the case, how can Christians end up being divided as we are seeing right now?
Foster says in Celebration of Discipline, our “corporate guidance is limited by our finitude.” The Holy Spirit is perfect; we are not and because of that, sometimes we disagree. Paul and Barnabas are a perfect example of that. They had a quarrel over whether to take John Mark with them on a missionary journey that was apparently so severe that they parted ways (see Acts 15). We aren’t always going to agree. When that happens, how do we handle it?
Richard Foster stresses the need to be kind and gracious toward each other. Pray for and ask God to bless each other. His words are so powerful about what a community that does this looks like; I want to share them with you:
Such a community lives under the immediate and total rulership of the Holy Spirit. They are a people blinded to all other loyalties by the splendor of God, a compassionate community embodying the law of love as seen in Jesus Christ. They are an obedient army of the Lamb of God living under the Spiritual Disciplines, a community in the process of total transformation from the inside out, a people determined to live out the demands of the gospel in a secular world. They are tenderly aggressive, meekly powerful, suffering, and overcoming. Such a community, cast in a rare and apostolic mold, constitutes a new gathering of the people of God. May almighty God continue to gather such people in our day.
May we be such a community.
Foster, Richard J. Celebration of Discipline, Special Anniversary Edition (p. 189). HarperOne. Kindle Edition.