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Cliques, clans and respectable people

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In this modern day we live in, there is an obvious culture war out there. In the church, however, that should not be so. First of all, the culture of the world has no place in the Christian life as we are to “...come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” (2 Corinthians 6:17) The culture war should not invade the church house either. Because each individual Christian is “being” separate from the world and the rules of it's culture, “the system”, there should be no cliques or clans in the church. Never should someone be exalted for the way they dress or how much money or worldly class they seem to have. Yet how often we see this abounding in the church.

God clearly teaches us not to be partial regarding wealth or the poor in our congregations, yet so often these lines are clearly drawn in the church house. How long have I known you? Are you “my” people? How much money and clout do you have? What can I gain from knowing you or hanging out with you? Will you make me look good socially? These are human questions and often subconscious thoughts, but they should never ever be allowed to reign supreme in the mind of a true Christian. We are called to have the mind of Christ.

“Harken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” (James 2:5) Notice how the less desirable of this world are chosen of God. One must beware when entering into treading on things God said are important to him. God tells us in verse 9, “But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.”

This is a hard thing for Christians to balance. God teaches that we are to pick our friends wisely and have no part in the works of iniquity; however, we see that within the church we are not to be getting involved in cliques, and only hanging out with “our family or clan”. Be careful not to get confused by mixing the two and throwing the baby out with the bath water. Just as God said, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.”(Romans 16:17) God also teaches us to love our brother and not show partiality in the church based on one's social or economic status. God can require two different things at the same time and still be truth. God can and does love the world, yet in his sovereignty He also can and must judge sin. It is we humans who are so quick to let one thing slip to accommodate another. The road is narrow for salvation, and few be that find it. It only makes sense that the things of God would not make much sense to our carnal minds. It's a whole other world; it is the kingdom of God. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

So next time you go to church, instead of being that person who walks by everyone and tosses the nose in the air, stop and love on everyone. Take the time to hug a brother or that person who seems to lack. Take the time to find out what they need. “Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.” (Romans 15:5-7)

On an individual basis we are called to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves, and as we see here in Romans 5 we are to be likeminded with each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, but according to Christ, not the worldly ways of thinking. So, in order to be that respectable person God wants us to be as believers, we must think like Jesus and follow in his steps. What did Jesus actually do? Who did he actually help and spend time with? What did he care about? “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak and not to please ourselves...For even Christ pleased not himself;” (Romans 15:1 &3a) “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” (Philippians 2:1-5)

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