Thursday, November 5, 2015

A Singular Focus

“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.  For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.  In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:14-22 NIV)

Earlier this week, over 800,000 fans of the World Series champion Kansas City Royals gathered in downtown Kansas City to celebrate. The city was literally a sea of Royal blue,  and there were no reports of rioting or vandalism.  

There is no doubt this crowd was made up of different races, political views, socioeconomic levels, and limitless varieties of ages and personalities.  Yet, here they were united as one in their love for their Kansas City Royals.

In today’s society, we hear a lot about diversity, but very little about unity.  The emphasis is on accepting and honoring our differences.  It is not a bad goal for us to appreciate one another, but as is clearly evident, there is not much unity coming from the emphasis on diversity. The reason is unity can only come about from a singular focus on something outside of ourselves.  In World War II, our country was united by the singular focus on defeating the Nazis and Japan.  On 9/11, the shock and grief of an attack on our country and the death of more than 3,000 of our citizens united us.  

But it is difficult, as evident by our nation’s history, to keep that singular focus.  Some would say we are more divided than ever by our politics and by our views of what the American way of life should look like.  We cannot agree, so we are at odds with one another.  

And it is no different in the Church.  We have long been divided along theological lines—Catholic and Protestant, evangelical and mainline, conservative and progressive—and for the same reason.  We lose our singular focus on Jesus.  Instead of pursuing Him, we pursue bolstering our personal beliefs.  Instead of submitting to Him, we seek to recreate Him into what we want Him to be.  Instead of focusing on His will, we focus on our own.  And this naturally leads to divisions and fights among us.

What happened in Kansas City this week was amazing and it just shows how people can unite regardless of their differences when there is singular focus among them.  Today, recognize we can only be united as believers if our singular focus is on Jesus.  It cannot happen by focusing on social justice, the inerrancy of the Scriptures, or right doctrine—all of which are important.  No, it can only happen if our singular focus is on Jesus, loving and worshipping Him above all else.  

© Jim Musser 2015

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