ODJ: The Great Divide

October 8, 2017 

READ: Ephesians 4:1-24 

Speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ (v.15).

A ministry leader once tried an interesting communication experiment. Holding giant whiteboards and some markers, he engaged passersby on his city’s streets. On one whiteboard, people were asked to write what they wanted to tell the church. The messages weren’t very kind. On the other board, people were asked to write, “What do you want to say to Jesus?” To Him they wrote surprisingly tender messages such as, “I miss you”, “I’m sorry” and “I love you”.

Loving Jesus should be easy—He’s that winsome combination of pure affection mixed with no-nonsense strength. He’s steady enough to never compromise, yet caring enough to help us (all of us) out of our sin to lives of real fulfilment. But if believers are faithfully following Jesus, the world should see Him in us just as easily. Christ is the source of unity in the church—His body—and the one we grow to become like (Ephesians 4:15-16). The goal, then, is for the church to be a family of believers who are flourishing spiritually. In that way they can help each other mature to be more like Jesus so that “the whole body [is] healthy and growing and full of love” (v.16).

At its best, such a healthy, maturing church clearly reflects Jesus as each believer is being transformed to become more like Him. As the Holy Spirit enables, and as the Scriptures provide the wisdom we need, we can learn to follow Christ with the abandon of a true disciple.

May we persevere in following Jesus by God’s strength, for the rewards are worth it. We will please Him, encourage our fellow believers and have a better opportunity to close the great divide that many see between Jesus and His followers.

—Jennifer Schuldt

365-day-plan: Acts 2:14-40

Read Phil. 2:3-11 and meditate on what it means to follow Jesus’ example in our lives. 
Why do many people think highly of Jesus but not of those who claim to believe in Him? What can you do to better represent Christ to people who might not respect the church?