Morning by Morning, November 17 - "Live in Harmony" to "Speak with One Voice"
Good morning, Lord Jesus. Good Shepherd, let me hear Your voice. ...
"May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 15:5-6).
These days we don't have to go far to hear a different opinion -- most of them firmly-held and fiercely-defended. In fact, that's one of the gifts of our freedom and even the beauty of Your creation -- we are all fearfully and wonderfully made, growing in our uniqueness of experience and diversity of personality. So when we respect one another's opinions, even and especially if we don't agree, it's respecting You and Your creativity and it's respecting the hard-fought freedom of our country.
And at the same time, in the midst of all the creativity and diversity, Your Spirit draws us to "live in harmony with one another." It's not "conformity to one another" but "harmony with one another." Though maybe a lot less challenging and much more peaceful, the conformity of all opinions being exactly the same would be so much more boring and would provide so little opportunity for growing in maturity.
So how is it that You create us with diversity but also call us to live in harmony to the degree that we speak with "one voice?" ...
It seems I hear You saying, "You speak with one voice when you remember to glorify Me in the expression of your thoughts and opinions. When you speak from a heart of honor and respect, even when you speak your different opinions from your different perspectives, you speak with one voice because you speak by My Spirit. Do you not know that you are My temple and My Spirit dwells in each of you?"
Yes, Lord. We are Your temple and Your Spirit dwells in each of us -- individually and personally, but also together as one (1 Corinthians 3:16). You call us to "be one" (John 17:11). You call us "to lead a life worthy of the calling to which (we) have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as (we) were called to the one hope of (our) calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all" (Ephesians 4:1-6).
Sometimes, we have to ask ourselves "What part of 'all' am I not understanding?" and "What part of 'one body' have I forgotten?" Probably the answer is it's the "the unity of the Spirit" and "the bond of peace" that I'm breaking by my bad attitude of giving in to my flesh instead following the leading of Your Spirit to respect and honor the one who disagrees with my opinion from my perspective. It's hard to speak "with one voice" to "glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" when we're all speaking by our flesh instead of living by Your Spirit.
"Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh.... By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit" (Galatians 5:16-26).
Come, Holy Spirit. Come fill Your temple -- each one personally and in our together as the body of Christ. Crucify our flesh. Purify our hearts. Sanctify our tongues. No matter our opinions -- only You truly know who is right and who is wrong -- by the power of Your grace at work within us, let us "live in harmony with one another" and speak "with one voice," with honor and respect for You and one another, that we may "glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
I pray you will be filled with the Holy Spirit, united as one in your heart with the body of Christ, living in harmony, speaking with honor and respect, to glorify God with your words and opinions, in Jesus' name. Please pray the same for me. God bless you, my friend!