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  • Writer's pictureEphemeral & Faithful

Humility Eclipses Hostility & Gratitude Greets Grace

*I wrote this devotional in conjunction with LIFE Fellowship's final sermon in the "Indescribable Gifts" sermon series on December 27, 2020. This sermon can be found on*

Hindsight is 2020! We were so thrilled at the comedic aspect of making “2020 vision” remarks, so surely we can take delight in this phrase too, especially as this one offers a more practical gleaning of wisdom. Pastor Ben’s quote from Sunday, “What if 2020 was the revelation of what needs to change inside of us?” sets the stage well as we further delve into the gift of communion.

Entitlement and egotistical elevation can destroy communion with each other. If we think that God is good because He should have saved us, then we need to check our hearts for pride and seek repentance. No one is higher than another, and there is nothing that we can do to grant ourselves salvation. So then, why do we sometimes put on the attitude of “I’m better than…”? We all do exhibit this attitude in various arenas of life. Perhaps we think we are better than others due to our political party affiliation, our ethnicity, our socioeconomic status, our level of health and physical ability, or any other petty, surface level triumph. There’s an old quote from a man, John Bradford, spoken as he watched a prisoner’s execution in the 1500’s, “There but for the grace of God go I!” This phrase is one I grew up hearing as a child and serves as a resounding reminder to all of us that we all sinned (Romans 3:23), deserve the same penalty of death (Romans 6:23), and yet Christ incredibly grants inimitable grace to each of us…enough grace to cover a multitude of sins! We have no right to perceive ourselves as more prestigious than another in light of this undeserving grace. Without God’s grace, there would be no communion amongst believers. Placing ourselves on a pedestal above others fractures this gift of communion that God designed.

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." ~ Romans 3:23 (ESV)
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." ~ Romans 6:23 (ESV)

Peace. Humanity craves peace perhaps just as much as hope. Remember that chick-flick comedy, Miss Congeniality, where all the girls in the beauty pageant state “world peace” as the answer to the host’s question of what society needed most? Even Hollywood exemplifies humanity’s need to strive for peace. Yet, we as Christians often fail to set an example of “maintaining the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” as we are called to do in Ephesians 4:3. We resist community with those who may have different political beliefs and hesitate to be around those who may be of a different race. We do well at dodging differences. We forget that we are all created in the image of God, and instead like to point fingers at why others are wrong and why we are right. Every time we do this, we are adding another brick to the walls of hostility in our heart. We often misconstrue peace by assuming that when we are with those who are likeminded, we experience peace without tension or division. However, this is false peace as we are, in reality, creating division, even though we think we are living in union, by separating ourselves from those with whom we differ. Therefore, introspection needs to occur and lead to a readjustment of our minds. Our earthly similarities are not agents of bonding, but instead it is Christ’s supernatural peace that connects us.

"I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." ~ Ephesians 4:2-3 (ESV)

One of the elders at LIFE, Andy Barker, stated on Sunday morning, “Jesus brings a peace that cuts across all ethnic, political, and social lines. Jesus brings a peace in the midst of differences through a bond that transcends all differences.” Focusing on each other’s differences produces discord, but focusing on our Savior produces peace between us as we identify and acknowledge the vital thread that ties us together: the blood shed by Jesus. Sowing discord is one of the six abominable sins detested by our Lord (Proverbs 6:16-19), so we ought to tread even more carefully to take care that we do not engage in, nor encourage, hostile walls of discord. Andy spoke these wise words, which he touted as potentially offensive, but I think there is nothing truer that could have been said to close out 2020, “If your stance on masks or presidents or race or anything else has been a greater determiner of who you associate with, than is the brotherhood we have because of the blood of Christ, that is a disgraceful disregard to what Jesus has done.” By putting up these walls of dissociation, we are displaying an atrocious attitude of ungratefulness for the grace we never deserved, but instead all received in abundance.

"There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers." ~ Proverbs 6:16-19 (ESV)

Draw to remembrance God’s grace and use it as the sledgehammer to demolish any pedestal of pride and obliterate any walls of hostility so that the gift of communion can be rebuilt, and peace can transpire. Seek the Lord’s guidance daily so that humility eclipses hostility and gratitude greets grace as we strive to dwell in communion with each other under the cohesion of Christ.

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