Life is all about learning how to love, and God wants us to value relationships and make every effort to maintain them instead of discarding them whenever there is a rift, a hurt or a conflict.
The Apostle Paul taught that our ability to get along with others is a mark of spiritual maturity. Since Christ wants his family to be known for our love for each other, broken fellowship is a disgraceful testimony to unbelievers. This is why Paul was so embarrassed that the members of the church in Corinth were splitting into warring factions and even taking each other to court.
He wrote, “Shame on you! Surely there is at least one wise person in your fellowship who can settle a dispute between fellow Christians.” (1 Corinthians 6:5 TEV) He was shocked that no one in the church was mature enough to resolve the conflict.
If you want God’s blessing on your life and you want to be known as a child of God, you must learn to be a peacemaker. Jesus said,
“God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9 NLT)
Notice Jesus didn’t say, “Blessed are the peace lovers,” because everyone loves peace. Neither did he say, “Blessed are the peaceable,” who are never disturbed by anything. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who work for peace” – those who actively seek to resolve conflict.
“You come to him as living stones, a spiritual house that is being built into a holy priesthood” (1 Peter 2:5 GW).
God says that you are a priest. Depending on your background, that may be scary or confusing. Peter is saying that the two benefits that priests have are now available to everyone who is a believer.
In the Old Testament, priests did two things:
- They had the right, privilege, and responsibility to go directly to God. They could pray and talk to God, worship, and fellowship with God. Everybody else had to go through a priest.
- The priest had the privilege and responsibility of representing God to the people and ministering to the needs of other people (serving).
Those are the very two things that are true of you when you become a believer.
The Bible says that when Jesus died on the cross, there was a veil in the temple that separated the Holy of Holies, where God’s Spirit was, from where man was. Only priests could go behind that veil once a year. When Jesus died on the cross, God ripped that veil — about 70 feet — from top to bottom, symbolizing that there no longer was a barrier.
You now have direct access to God. You don’t have to pray through anybody else. You don’t have to confess through anybody else. You don’t have to fellowship with God through anybody else. Read your Bible, talk with the Lord, and fellowship directly with him.
You have also been gifted for ministry to serve other people. Every Christian is a minister — not a pastor, but a minister. Anytime you use your talents and gifts to help others, you are ministering.
“He saved us and chose us for his holy work not because we deserved it but because that was his plan long before the world began” (2 Timothy 1:9 TLB).
Why did God save you? So you could serve him. A non-serving Christian is a contradiction.
How do you know what your ministry is? Look at your talents, gifts, and abilities. When you use those talents and gifts to help other people, that’s called ministry — nothing fancy or scary about it. It’s just helping others. Can you be a priest in a sales office? You bet you can. Can you be a priest as an accountant? Of course. Driving a truck? Sure. Anytime you’re helping other people in God’s name, you’re ministering.