March 18, 2019 | Wanda Alger, IFA Field Correspondent
At a time when the Church needs to come together to war against the prevailing anti-God agenda in this nation, we must remember our corporate identity and journey’s goal:
…[A]s Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church (“Ekklesia”) to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25-27 ESV)
Jesus died to save us as individuals, but He is returning for us as a Bride. We are each responsible for our personal holiness, but we are corporately responsible for our sanctification as a Bride worthy of the Bridegroom. We are on a journey much bigger than our individual goals and aspirations. We must be joined together for a Kingdom cause that far outweighs our individual preferences or personal agendas. Somehow, we must find the same love for the Church that Christ has.
And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:2 ESV)
Until we feel a divine jealousy over His Body, we will never be properly motivated to guard, protect, and contend for our unity. Many are walking away from the Church, or wandering from church to church, with negative attitudes and bitter words, causing mistrust, criticism, and isolation. Regardless of the reasons, we need to realize the damage done when we respond to fellow members of Christ’s Body in these ways. How we speak, and feel, about “the Church” will determine our level of authority in praying for her.
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled. (Hebrews 12:14-15 ESV)
To take down the demonic ruling authorities over our nation, we must have corporate authority. We cannot have corporate authority in isolation. Unless we walk together and learn to work through our conflicts and differences, we will be handicapped in our prayers and have no standing in the spirit. We don’t have to agree on everything, but we do need a love for the Body of Christ that can see past one another’s flaws and mistakes. Even when there is sin in the camp and need for accountability, we can walk through it with integrity, looking for ways to address the individuals while protecting our corporate witness (Matt 18:15-20).
Rather than expecting a “one size fits all” church, we need to see that each congregation is but one expression of the larger Church within a community. Each fellowship has a role to play and gifts to offer. How we walk together as a city Church will impact our intercession on behalf of the city. If we are to rise as a sanctified, empowered, and victorious Ekklesia, we need a zealous love to protect each other, care for one another, champion each other, and work as one towards a higher call. It is our responsibility to build up the Body and make ourselves ready for the Bridegroom.
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:15-16 ESV)
- Pray that believers would have a divine jealousy over the Bride of Christ.
- Pray for our church leaders to pursue righteousness and embrace the joy of servant leadership.
- Pray that we would walk with integrity when confronting sin or compromise, maintaining the witness of Christ to those watching.
- Pray that believers would celebrate the Body of Christ with all its various parts, without comparisons or man-made expectations.
- Pray that our collective identity as the Bride of Christ would be a welcome aroma and healing balm to the world.