Disarmed November 7-11
As Jesus openly embraced us in our sinful state, we must also accept one another. As Christians who are part of the body of Christ, unity is vital. Unity is a hard word and a hard task, but as people who are set apart, we must have the same attitude as Jesus towards one another. We must live our lives the way Jesus wants us to live—in harmony, in unity, in love, in forgiveness. We are all sinners saved by grace. This common thread between us allows us to march as a united front, armed with the love, peace, hope, and grace that the world desperately needs.
Day 1 John 8:1-11
Reflect: How does Jesus hold the perfect balance between truth and grace? How does knowing we are all sinners who need forgiveness help unite us?
Apply: When was the last time, in joining the crowd, you picked up a stone of condemnation? When have you offered words of truth and grace that helped someone change course?
Pray: Lord, I confess there are times when I have been critical of others, forgetting that by Your grace, my own sins have been washed white as snow. I want to live a life that is pleasing to You, displaying the grace and love of Jesus towards others.
Day 2 Romans 14:13-15:7
Reflect: What is the process Paul describes of achieving harmony in the midst of diverse opinions? What was the result? What does Paul exhort believers to do?
Apply: What does bearing with each other look like in real life? How would our church look if we were preoccupied with living out verses 15:2-3, rather than being preoccupied with opinions in disputable matters?
Pray: Father, help me never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother or sister in Christ, or injure anyone by exercising my rights. Rather as the family of Christ, let Your Word and the love of Christ richly dwell in us.
Day 3 John 17:20-23
Reflect: Paraphrase Jesus’ prayer. What is the reason for His prayer? What effect does Christian unity have on the watching world? How does disunity impact the Gospel? Why?
Apply: Describe what this truth means—all believers in Christ are united in Christ. What are ways that you can personally contribute to greater unity in our church life?
Pray: Holy Spirit, help us to set aside our differences and look to the greater cause of Christ. Fill each member with love and willing submission to each other and to You. Through the power of your Spirit, draw others to come to know You.
Day 4 Philemon 1:1-21
Reflect: How did Paul approach pursuing unity between the two men? What do you learn about Philemon? Why was this reconciliation so important to Paul? Why did it matter?
Apply: When have you seen a division between two people grow bigger? Is there a conflicting situation that you can humbly step into to promote love, equality, and healing?
Pray: Lord, teach me to foster a Christ-like spirit. When I have been wronged, give me the grace and wisdom to do what is right. When I have wronged others, give me the courage to face up to my faults and failings. I pray that I may honor Your name by my words and actions.
Day 5 Psalm 133:1-3 (Song of Ascent, traditionally sang by Jews traveling festivals in Jerusalem)
Reflect: David used two metaphors to describe the goodness of unity. Why do you think he chose them? What did he want the people to think about as they traveled?
Apply: Ponder this—on what do we have to agree to be considered unified as the people of God? What metaphors would you use to describe the benefit and power of unity?
Pray: Jesus, You redeem and unify us by Your blood. Protect the church from disunity, discord, or division. Make unity our reality as we live as brothers and sisters in all the ways You desire and require.
Put It into Practice!
Week 2: Disarmed
In your prayer time, ask Jesus to reveal any stones you are holding against others, and then hand them to Jesus. Do you need to forgive others who have “stoned” you?