By: Sarah Abreu
Jesus said when we become one, when we act in one accord, in one Spirit; the world will see that Jesus is the light of the world. – John 17:23
Today, Christianity is divided, sometimes for very good reasons, but too often by unnecessary disagreements based on preferences and opinions and fanned into conflict by sinfulness and individualism. This division can make the Gospel hard for the unbeliever to see behind our infighting, gossip, individualism, and ready criticism of Christ’s Bride: The Church. Our lack of unity within the church actually hides the Good News which many of us would readily die to share with the world. So how do we get out of this “I’m an eye; therefore, you should all be eyes with me” and instead accept that I’m an eye and my friend is an ear and together we can both see and hear? How do we really live out the fact that we need each other?
We live in a broken world, and because of our brokenness perfect unity won’t come until our Jesus comes back. But this does not give us a free pass to let division reign… there are too many souls at stake.
I believe one way we can start closing the division gap is by being united even in our quiet times. Quiet time with Jesus doesn’t have to be a lonely place; your secret place with the Lord can grow stronger by the accountability of a quiet time partner or group! You don’t even have to be physically present with them (even though this would be good for you to have a couple of times a month) but you could simply read the same passages during your quiet times and discuss them afterwards! Knowing that others are going through quiet times just like you not only motivates us, but it strengths our faith as believers.
For a long time I noticed myself answering questions the world had about division in christianity with my own opinions instead of using the sword given to me by God: His word. I was lacking in my quiet time with Him!
The natural human response to fix division in the church would be to have a nation-wide meeting where we address the issues and tell people how to behave, but that’s not necessarily how God does things. One thing God has been personally speaking to me is that change often begins in secret.
My wisdom begins with hearing, hearing the Word of God.
It’s so hard to stay the course in having quiet time with God when you feel as if you are the only one having it. And its also hard when it seems that everyone else on Instagram already had their quiet time 3 hours before you even woke up. Comparing ourselves to others either makes us feel alone or that we’re failing from every angle.
Here’s some good news friends, it’s okay.
There’s grace… and that’s how we are saved… by grace through faith.
You are not alone… we are so used to isolation and loneliness because that’s what this world has accustomed us to feel. This is the reason why it’s so easy to translate our everyday life to our quiet time life! We can do nearly anything without speaking to a living soul.
I can order my Starbucks order through my phone instead of going to the counter. I can call a ride without yelling in the middle of the street to stop a taxi. I can do my group project from google docs and not even have to get on the phone with my partners. Where does this leave me? ALONE.
Some of you probably like being alone more than others. “I hate talking to people. I’m an introvert.” “I hate people, they annoy me.” Let me just tell you that’s exactly where our adversary the devil wants us. Thinking that we can do it all on our own. That we can be the eyes, ears, and mouth of God. We cannot.
This self-seeking comfort theory we have grown up into is a big aspect of division. And we are in desperate need of a deeper intimacy with God and the body of believers.
When I am struggling with my quiet time with God I have to reach out for help. I have to confess my sin of laziness and distractions to a friend and ask them to have some quiet time with me or to do it at the same time as me even if we are in different places.
You can start closing the gap between Christians and unbelievers by uniting in secret.
“What we give in secret, the Father will reward us for openly.” Matthew 6:4
If the church would unite in quietly pursuing God together, if we would stop pretending we have our quiet time down, stop believing that we don’t need any help reading the Bible, stop wanting to be so independent! If only we could die to what the world wants us to be and act as if we believed God.
Only then.. would the world see Jesus through His body of believers.
I want to encourage you today to seek a quiet time partner! Someone that you can share body parts with if you know what I mean. They will see things in the word that you won’t and you will hear things in the word that they won’t. The body of Christ was meant to work together.
This won’t erase your alone quiet time; it will enhance it. It will push you to go even deeper because now it’s not only about you, but also about another part of the body that trusts you enough to share insight, thoughts, prayers, and convictions.
We were never meant to do this walk alone sisters. We must rely on one another and confess our sin to each other that we will be healed, that we will get closer to our savior. Together is not only the best way, but THE way that pleases Jesus and draws others to Him.
Blessings, Sarah A.
Sarah lives in sunny South Florida in the suburbs of Hollywood. She is the youth director at her church for middle school and high school students. Her heart cries out for others to experience the peace and comfort she has found in the Lord. Sarah loves going to the beach and the park as well as reading Jesus-centered books and dancing to worship music.