Practical Steps to Pursue Unity and Overcome Divisive Spirits

Relationships are the most important thing the Lord has gifted us. A relationship with Him first and foremost and then relationships with each other.

Anybody who has been in any sort of group setting…. especially a church, or a group that is together to do good or pursue the Lord… knows there will always be hard dynamics to overcome. It is almost inevitable that in time a divisive spirit will enter. Often it enters at what feels is THE worst possible time. Recently I was seeking wisdom on how to pursue unity and rise above divisiveness and I had a difficult time finding some practical help. But the Lord brought to mind a blog I wrote many years ago on Pursuing Unity. So taking those lessons He started teaching us years ago and expanding on it… here are some practical tips to pursue unity, overcome divisive spirits, and walk-out hard relationship dynamics in a Godly way.

  • Remember and Reflect on the Lord’s undeserved mercy and grace in your life. Acknowledge before Him that you know you are imperfect and in desperate need of His continued grace and that He is High Mighty Perfect Glorious and you.are.not. Let yourself be humbled by His undeserved grace. We can not give out to others what we have not first received ourselves. All love mercy and grace originates with the Lord. FILL UP and be nourished by Him! Every hour! Be Still and Know that I am God Psalm 46:10
  • Accept God’s sovereignty. Whatever has entered your path, whatever hard thing is in front of you, whoever is in your life… He has allowed it. It will be a process between you and the Lord to figure out how long a relationship is supposed to stay… but if it’s entered your life, He has allowed it. Accept His molding, His sharpening, and the reality that we only will become more mature and better stewards of people around us by going through hard things. Look beyond the person and the circumstance and focus instead on journeying with the Lord through this. Make it less about the “problem” or person and more about you and the Lord and what He wants to teach you. Be honored to bear the weight of suffering to become more like Jesus. You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good…Gen 50:20
  • Along those same lines…Remember who the true enemy is and where the battles are really being fought.. PRAY 10 times more than trying to solve through thinking or talking. Pray for good and blessing for all people involved. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12
  • Slow down your tongue (texting fingers) and breathing. The enemy wreaks havoc through haste. To be led by the Spirit, especially in hard relationships, we need to keep slow. Listen for His red flag warning nudges that are telling you to pause and listen. Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. James 1:19
  • Move all hard conversations away from text/email and on to phone conversations and in-person conversations. There’s too much room for miscommunication via text or email.
  • Before sharing anything with others make sure you have vented to the Lord and given Him much time to minister to your mind and heart. After processing the situation with the Lord, the 2nd person to share and ask for prayer and wisdom from is your spouse. Be very careful to not share the details of discord with others in the group. Asking for prayer is wise. Giving details with the intent to win people to your side is gossip. Before sharing, assess your own *intent* and think through what your *desired result* in sharing is. This is something I’m still trying to process and think through with the Lord.
  • All the quieting of mind, mouth, and fingers will need a release. Get your body moving! Run hard, lift weights, play with your kiddos. Get out nerves and adrenaline. It’s so important to release tension and frustrations.
  • Accept the outcome. Let people go. Do not cling too tightly to your own expectations. Do not try to control others. It’s hard enough to control self. Let people think wrong thoughts of you and don’t try to over-explain yourself. Let the Lord be your defender and only give clarification for understanding when the Lord releases you to do so. Let people judge you wrongly. Leave that judgment between them and the Lord.

What could have started as an ugly divide… the Lord can use for good. Do not fear people nor dark spirits. You are protected by the Lord Jesus and He is sovereign and He is always sufficient.

Guard Your Heart

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23

But how, Father? There’s so much evil, misinformation, deceitfulness, confusion, and turmoil in our country right now. I know we must be on guard against the pervasive darkness and wickedness that’s spreading. I want to “guard my heart above all else”. But how!?

I’ve found my answer:

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice! The Greek: Χαίρετε (Chairete)”! Be cheerful. Calmly happy.

When I truly believe and remember that the Lord – the Almighty one who made the stars and mountains and seas and ME – is WITH me… it gives joy and cheerfulness and a gentle spirit.

We do not have to worry and fret. Instead we hand up our petitions to the Lord with thanksgiving! And His peace then guards our heart and mind.

What an amazing exchange! We remember He is near. We accept the joy of His presence. We give up our weakness and worries and sorrows. And He exchanges them for His peace that will then guard and protect our hearts and minds in Him.

Every day we just need to practice this. Practice practice practice. Remember the Lord Almighty is near. Be calm be gentle. Give up all our worries. Pour them out in words or tears. Choose to remember how much we have to be thankful for. As many times as the worries try to take over our heart or mind… go to Him that many times! As much as it takes.

As I walked the beach last week on a super chilly and windy day… I thought about how peaceful and calm and happy I felt despite what was going on around me. That’s what He desires for us!!!

No matter how hard the wind is whipping and what storms are brewing… He is our strong tower (Proverbs 18:10).

We must practice remembering that we are in the Strong Tower! We remember and we trust that we are not alone and He is with us working on our behalf. He will guide, protect, keep pure, and keep right our hearts and minds. We do not have to fear deception or darkness. We just have to practice remembering!

Now more than ever we must remember. With thankful hearts we must TRUST. He is God and we are not.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23

Above. All. Else. Let Him guard your heart. Let Him care and tend to you. Give Him your heart and mind and accept His peace. Visualize yourself in the Strong Tower of His love!

Seek His peace and care through remembering, rejoicing, thanking, giving up your worries. In this way, every trouble and worry and frustration and obstacle and sorrow will be a catalyst of spiritual growth as they cause you to go to His heart!

The true reality is that Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! He is the most powerful – nothing is more powerful than He is and He is furthering His story. No matter what!

No matter what it feels like or looks like. Trust. Give up all your cares and let Him care for you. He is the Strong Tower. The faithful one. He is mighty. He is trust-worthy!

Psalm 131

My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore. Psalm 131

There’s a lot of things going on in our country and in the world that are alarming and attention-grabbing. But the Lord not only gives us permission to be at peace and not worry…He desires it for us! Every day, we must take the time to be at peace and relinquish all worries to the Lord’s hands. This week I have practiced visualizing myself crawling into Abba’s lap, being still, and not moving from that stillness until I feel totally content.

Some mornings as I’ve walked in my place of solitude, I’ve felt more like a fretful little one that needs to vent than a weaned and trusting child. On those mornings it seems I crawl into His lap with a flurry of words anxieties and complaints … “but how will you handle this!?” … “but this is going on now!” … “can you even believe xyz?”… “won’t you do something Jesus!?” But each time, He does eventually quiet my spirit.

The Lord’s people know what that contentment of soul feels like. It’s the place of rest where we know with confidence that The Lord who loves us beyond comprehension is the ALMIGHTY, Sovereign, one and only, Creator God that knows best and does best… and we are not.

Should we completely ignore any “big matters”? Refuse to know what’s going on in the world around us? Pretend the evil around us doesn’t exist?

I don’t think that’s necessary! We can stay educated, keep informed, think about big concepts, and discuss them with our family… but we can’t concern ourselves. The Lord will guide us each individually how much information to let in based on our minds and personalities and callings… but for His people, His desire is the same: Do not concern yourself.

Our souls yearn for peace and rest… and the world offers so much to try to satisfy the yearning. But there is nothing. No. thing. that truly satisfies and contents the soul other than Jesus. He is the One our souls were created for! HE is peace.

So the power is not in the practice of visualization, solitude, or stillness. The power is in Jesus and the hope we have in His power and His goodness. Practices like this simply help us discipline ourselves to GO to the ONE who leads us “beside quiet waters” (Ps 23).

– RJR –