The last few years for the Church have been excruciatingly painful.
We’ve not only been beat up by the chaos of the world, but we’ve spent a considerable amount of mental and physical energy beating up on each other; our divided hearts are as visible now as they were in the garden.
To our own dismay, we’ve been allowing the wrong things to have power over our hearts and minds. We seek after power by grabbing after control; control over our circumstances and the people around us. If we’re really honest with ourselves, a lot of what we do is to guard against ever having to be or to feel powerless.
The challenge I want to put forth to us as followers of Jesus, is to consistently ask ourselves: who or what are we ascribing power to?
David writes in Psalm 68:34; “ascribe power to God, whose majesty is over Israel, and whose power is in the skies.”
The word ascribe implies action on our parts; a willingness to give what power we have over to God. By doing so we give proper recognition to Him, who is and will forever be all powerful.
Our idols of money, power and comfort are standing in the way of our relationship with Jesus, and our neighbors. We are called by Jesus to unity, to be strengthened by the Holy Spirit and to live unified even in the middle of dis-unifying times.
Our unity as the body of Christ in the world is our power.
Our idols that we so boldly cling to have given us a distorted sense of power; leading to the degradation, abuse, and division that we see within the church today.
As Paul reminded the church in Ephesus, we too need to be reminded to be strong in the Lord in order to stand against the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6:11). Ultimately, these schemes that the enemy has deployed have left us divided in body; thus divided in power.
It’s time we awaken to the reality that we are not just fighting against the powers, idols and injustices of this world, but against cosmic powers that we cannot see.
This is a spiritual battle.
Together we must fight whatever injustices we face through the power of prayer, our knowledge and resources. God’s mission for us as His children (each one uniquely created and beautiful) has not changed. He desires that His power be recognized, and that His love be displayed through our unity.
Our individual power struggles with one another and the world keep us from fulfilling the holy mission we’ve been given.
Instead of being united in power we’ve chosen self-preservation. And self-preservation fuels our longing for power and control. One of the greatest struggles any of us will ever have is to trust God with preserving our lives and our loved ones. Letting go of self preservation is essential if we desire to be unified in power.
One body standing united.
This type of power, fueled and strengthened by the Holy Spirit is not self-seeking or fear driven. It allows us to love, to fight for and with one another even in the midst of tumultuous political and economic times. We have to be willing to meet each other where we are; remaining in relationship with one another even when tensions are high and disappointment looms.
This is the ministry of reconciliation that we’ve been given.
It’s not a choice, but a way of life.
“Wakanda will no longer watch from the shadows. We cannot. We must not. We will work to be an example of how we, as brothers and sisters on this earth, should treat each other. Now, more than ever, the illusions of division threaten our very existence. We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another, as if we were one single tribe.”
— T’Challa: Black Panther
Ashley Bell was born and raised in a little town in Virginia and moved to Portland in 2007 to attend Seminary at Multnomah University. After graduating she moved to Tallahassee, Florida. However, in 2012 the Lord so graciously provided for her to return to Portland to begin working at Multnomah, while getting another master’s in education. Ashley currently works at Portland Rescue Mission – Shepherd’s Door as the Equipping Manager. Ashley believes that discipleship is not only an essential part of our relationship with Jesus, but it is also essential in the process of becoming astute, kind, loving, citizens, that are committed to engaging relationally, and lovingly with present social realities. Her greatest desire is to be an accurate reflection of the grace and love of Jesus Christ to everyone she encounters.