As Christians we are being trained to live in harmony, first with God and secondly with one another. This is the aim of our call to Jesus Christ, to be able to live harmoniously so that we may inherit he kingdom of God and live in peace with Jesus Christ and God the Father.
But the enemy is also at work sowing the seeds of disharmony and destruction amongst the brethren of the churches. He would like to see all Christians fail to find a place of harmony where they are following the ways of God, and it is because of the work of the devil that we see the disharmony that afflicts the church and has done so for many years.
This should not be so. It is not right that the brethren of the church disagree. There is much that is taught in the churches that is not based upon the truth of the gospel and the words of the Lord, and it is because of such false teaching and lies in the doctrine of the church that disagreements flare.
So what can we do about it? We may not be able to fix the broad church, but we have a responsibility to ensure that our own standing with God is in harmony with Him. And that is the exhortation that comes through these verses in Romans 15.
Living In Harmony
There are many beliefs in the different churches, sects and denominations of Christianity and not all of them agree. One only needs to look at the troubles that existed for so many years in Northern Ireland to see how Christians failed to find harmony and consequently led to civil disorder.
It is important that we find the common ground of the truth, not compromise, so that we grow. But who has the truth? The devil has done his devious work so that the truth is deeply hidden amongst the lies of what is commonly called Christianity. It is now our responsibility to sift through the lies and so find the essence of the truth as delivered by Jesus Christ so that we can fulfill the fullness of our call.
And although it is hidden, it is not unable to be found. The Lord has promised that if we seek His truth we will find it. If we search diligently, just as the parable of the woman who lost a valuable coin searched diligently, sweeping away the dust and dirt of her house, looking around, beneath and inside things found her coin, so too we can seek out and find the truth of Jesus Christ.
And the principles of harmony sublimely describe how this may work.
What Is Harmony?
Think of harmony from a musical perspective and in particular in the situation of a vocal choir. Harmony is the blending of voices all singing different notes that together create a pleasant and musical song
When singers sing together in harmony it lifts and builds so that each part adds to the rest and unifies into a whole making a wonderful sound that is pleasing to those who listen. It is also pleasing to the singers who produce the sound for they are working together as a team coming into unity with each other to produce a majestic sound.
When singers are in harmony it is a beautiful thing
And so it is within Christianity too. When all find harmony together they find peace and sing a song of joy to God pleasing both to those who worship and praise, and to Him who listens.
Disharmony on the other hand does not please nor help anyone. Christians who are at loggerheads with each other are not in harmony, they lack peace, are not aligned and are unable to please God.
This we see that these verses of Romans 15 encourage us to live in harmony as they speak to us saying,
5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (Romans 15:5-7).
Like a well disciplined choir we too need training in the truth and godliness to find harmony first with God and then with each other. This is why this scripture speaks of the need for endurance and encouragement so that through His training we will be unified in harmony with each other and with Him.
Unity is essential in Jesus Christ. We know that Christ was unified with the Father for He says many times things like, “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30)
We in the church need to be unified in the same way so that we think and act in unity with Christ.
Like singers we may all be singing different parts, but when we are in harmony we make a beautiful whole that is complete, balanced and in perfect alignment with the will of God. And we will sing different parts because we are not all the same. We will need the support of others sometimes to provide the basis for our song to the Lord. We will provide support in teaching, encouragement or a listening ear to assist the songs of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
And above all we will need to bring our collective and individual voices before the Father and Jesus Christ seeking their help, support, grace and mercy as we pray and praise them for caring for and about us.
So how do we find this place of perfect harmony with Jesus Christ, God the Father and each other in the church?
First we must learn what God's will is. His will is based upon faith and the teachings of Jesus Christ. We must learn and understand what Jesus taught and come to God in accordance with His will.
Too many Christians and churches today want to come to God on their own terms not on God's terms. If we want to be with Jesus Christ and be in harmony with Him, then we must seek out His ways and follow them. We must sing the Lord's song to be in harmony with Him, not a tune of our own making that will not lead us to Christ.
We must apply His teachings to our life and live what we learn. It is not enough to just hear what He has to say, we must do it too. It is our behaviour that bears witness to our faith. It is our behaviour that shows whether we are bearing good fruit useful to God or whether we are a bad tree to be cut down and thrown in the fire.
When we seek to learn from God and from Jesus Christ, not being led astray by the doctrines of demons, the false teachings of men or the bondages of lies in the church, then we may find true harmony with God. It is then that we may sing a new song in harmony together, and we must be in harmony with each other if we are to walk and live in God's kingdom. So this is the time and place to start to learn how to live in harmony, as Paul wrote,
2 For he says, “At the acceptable time I have listened to you, and helped you on the day of salvation.” Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2 RSV)
Now is the time to seek and learn his ways. Now is the time to find the truth and the road to salvation and when we do we find the place of harmony. Now is the day of salvation so do not delay. Take the time to seek out and find the truth and don't blindly accept what anyone may say for it is only when we are in true harmony with The Lord that salvation will be ours.
(Image sourced from freeimages.com provided by Jay Lopez)
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