Over the last decade here in Sandpoint I have found that this is one of the most open, loving and caring communities that I have ever seen or had the privilege of calling home. When I was called to Sandpoint I church shopped and looked around for where I was going to attend. I found so many great churches and had to listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit to see where He was calling me. I was looking for unity and thankfully I found a caring Pastor and church family that was willing to walk with me through life. I eventually was able to answer the call to ministry at Hidden Valley 5 years ago.
One thing that I heard over and over is that there was tremendous division in the churches. That some churches were judging other churches and that everyone was posturing against one another for who had the “correct and true” corner on all doctrines. What I have seen happening over the last 5 years is that many leaders in the Body of Christ have chosen a different path, a path that Jesus said would ultimately reveal who He was in the earth.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 NKJV
Love is a dynamic and powerful thing that is the embodiment of the character of God. All of God’s attributes come from this dynamic foundation. God is love (1 John 4:8) and there is no way to water down the power of God’s love. God so loved that He gave His best, His most precious gift in order to save a world that did not agree with Him, did not know Him and did not trust Him. God’s love is poured out on those who believe in Jesus Christ in a dynamic union of spirit to Spirit. The old ways that were based on fear, trusting ourselves, unforgiveness and self-preservation were replaced with the dynamic love of God. This is truly good news to all who have submitted their lives to a loving Father, a redeeming Savior and an empowering Holy Spirit.
In light of this love that has been poured out in our lives through what Christ has done for us, we are now called to receive (take hold of) the goodness of God and let His love transform us. Ultimately we are to be like Jesus in this world and though there can be tremendous friction between the world and the Christian, we are to rise above, and love. Are we to be aware of pitfalls, danger of false doctrines and those that would lead away from the person of Christ? Absolutely. We are also called to love them and pray for those that move people away from Jesus that they would return to Christ.
I believe that the Apostle Paul is telling the believers in Corinth how they should interact as a body (1 Corinthians 12) from the highest place of love because “love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
What I see happening is a tremendous growth in love for each other in the Body of Christ where people from all different distinctive doctrines are willing to cover with mercy what we may find as differences in our “corners of truth” and focus on our Savior, His work, His word and the mission that He has given us. I see this unity growing and creating a dynamic and powerful movement where believers are supported, assisted, empowered and loved throughout the entire Body of Christ. Be encouraged church, God is being revealed through love within His Body. I know it’s happening because church leaders aren’t just saying it, they are acting on it.