We're not a team. We're a time bomb!
This line was spoken by Dr. Bruce Banner, as earth's mightiest heroes were at the pinnacle of the inner-conflict engineered by Loki, the "god of mischief" in the Avengers movie. They allowed pride, personal preferences, and desires for personal gain create division; placing their mission in jeopardy. This conflict is not isolated to a superhero movie but is experienced by born-again Christians in our churches today.
The Apostle Peter described Satan as a roaring lion on the prowl looking for those to devour (1 Peter 5:8). While he cannot touch our salvation and identity in Jesus Christ, he actively works to destroy the work and mission of the church. Instead of focusing on the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), we spend much time arguing about interpersonal issues or preferences such as music style, decor, schedules, and programs. Fueled by pride and/or a desire for personal gain, the overall negative impact on gospel proclamation and disciple-making is significant. As Christians, we must not forget that we have one enemy, and he is not sitting in the pew across from us!
We must move beyond our personal conflicts and focus on the mission of proclaiming Jesus Christ to a lost world and making disciples, united as a team. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, often referred to as the "love chapter" was addressed to churches and not a bride and groom. Imagine the kingdom impact when we love one another in the church accordingly:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Likewise, let us make every effort to obediently follow Ephesians 4:31-32 "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."
I am convinced that great kingdom impacts will be made when we put our differences and preferences aside, working diligently as a team united under the cross of Jesus Christ. In the Avengers, the earth's future was at stake--in our battle, the stakes are much higher. The eternal destinies of millions weigh in the balance between heaven and hell. We cannot afford to lose sight of this truth!