“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15:5-6)
Longing for peace and harmony in your relationships? This blessing in Romans points us to the only source of reconciliation: Jesus. It starts with prayer, filling up on encouragement and endurance from the Lord, opening up to his power to bring each of us into accord with him. The more like him each of us grows, the more harmony we will have with one another.
Churches and Christians get in trouble when we start to see harmony as an end unto itself. The end goal of harmonizing is to glory the Lord our God, who does not change. If, for the sake of peace, we sacrifice doctrinal truth and change our message to please those in the church who are held captive by the world, we might have peace, but we’d all be out of harmony with Jesus. Rather than glorifying Christ, we’d be spreading deception.
Thus we must be sure who we are harmonizing with is truly seeking to be in one accord with the Christ Jesus of the Bible. Now, we should be respectful, gentle, and kind in disagreeing with those who choose to believe a lie. We should be sensitive to the Lord’s leading in who we cast our pearls before.
However, in our own lives, we must not back down from where we stand in Christ to please the Marketplace of Ideas Shoppers who toss a few cherry-picked Christian beliefs in their basket along with other cherished beliefs that seem right and feel good to them. Warn them if God leads, leave them to God’s judgment as convicted to, but don’t let them take you with them for the sake of peace. Our first responsibility is to harmonize (become in accord) with the Lord. If others around us decline to, that is their choice.
Lord, search our hearts. If we have any beliefs not in harmony with who you are, reveal them to us by your holy spirit. By your grace, grant us the strength to cast off anything that is not of you. Encourage us to endurance, seeking to live in peace, for the purpose of glorifying you with all of your people. We pray we would find peace and harmony as we your people draw closer to the truth and walk in your ways. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.