“Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you.” (Philippians 3:15 NLT)
In Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi, Paul implores the people to think about the things he was sharing with them and understanding that some would not agree, encouraged them to see God in the areas in which they would disagree. He understood that those who were spiritually mature–already saturated with Holy Spirit understanding would immediately recognize what He was saying–aligned with God’s Plan.
With all of the interpretations and translations of the Bible and denominational doctrines that man is creating, who can be classified as the “spiritually mature”? Do we handle disagreement by allowing Holy Spirit to lead us or do we simply disconnect with other Believers and create yet another doctrine and then attempt to make people believe we’re the only ones who are right?
Like Paul, I cannot claim to have achieved all wisdom pertaining to God or perfection, but I do seek Him daily for understanding of His Word and for direction of my life here on earth. If I am not willing to live according to His Plan, then my living is in vain and will not accomplish all that He has planned for me, right now–to benefit others in bringing them into better understanding of who He is.
No, I’m not perfect–I manage to screw something up at least once a day and when I do–I’m quick to own it and go back to Him when I know I did not hear Him clearly. When people disagree with me or I disagree with them, I research an issue–whatever it is and then “send the link to them” to support my position or theirs. When I’m wrong–I’m wrong. When they’re wrong–it’s really no big deal. This is how we handle disagreement as spiritually mature believers. And if we cannot find the information needed, we simply agree to disagree. No need to disconnect the relationship because of disagreement.
But there are those who Paul describes in the next few verses and I’m sure we’ve all met some of them. The people who whose “conduct” demonstrates their lack of understanding and because of their lack of understanding, their fleshly desires have become their god and they do whatever they want to do and then attempt to get those who know to do the right to convert to doing their “right thing” still claiming to be a follower of Christ. Paul says they are headed for destruction. Do we see people–proclaiming to be followers of Christ–headed for destruction today?
Whether we believe all that is said in the Bible really does not matter in the end. His Word is true in spite of our belief or unbelief and He does not need our approval or permission to accomplish all He has planned. Those who have been faithful to God’s Word shall reap their reward and those who have not–will reap their reward. We cannot make people believe what God has said nor can we make them live according to His Word. We can–live our lives according to God’s Word in front of them–demonstrating His love and mercy towards all. After that–what they choose to believe will determine their fate, not ours.
Now would be a good time for a bit of deep introspection–one of those moments when we should examine ourselves rather than inspecting others. Are we spiritually mature or are we still infants–throwing tantrums when others do not agree with us?
Lord, help us to see us as we truly are and if there is anything in us that is not of You, remove it and replace with wisdom and understanding and greater love for all humanity.