Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.
How often do we find ourselves in conflict and disagreement with those with whom we should be standing in unity, over some truly inconsequential principle or doctrine? Even to the extent of showing ourselves a poor example and witness of the very grace, mercy and love that has been extended to us, and should be flowing through us to others. Many times, for no better reason than to simply prove that we are right, and someone else is wrong. We should all ponder well our real motivations and the intents of our hearts. Consider the Moravian motto, "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, love". There is much wisdom in these words.
Thought for the day
Do we need to be right to feed our ego and self esteem at the risk of alienating others? If so, we all need to look to God and reflect on the 2nd greatest of all commandments; and “you shall love your neighbor as yourself”. Isn’t high time for us to recognize that only God can help us feel complete? Would you rather be right or be happy?
So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new-moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules were only shadows of the real thing, Christ himself. Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on self-denial. And don’t let anyone say you must worship angels, even though they say they have had visions about this. These people claim to be so humble, but their sinful minds have made them proud. But they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For we are joined together in his body by his strong sinews, and we grow only as we get our nourishment and strength from God. You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the evil powers of this world. So why do you keep on following rules of the world, such as, "Don’t handle, don’t eat, don’t touch." Such rules are mere human teaching about things that are gone as soon as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, humility, and severe bodily discipline. But they have no effect when it comes to conquering a person’s evil thoughts and desires. ~Colossians 2:11-23 (NLT)~
Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
~Hebrews 10:19-25 (NASB)~
Heavenly Father, please help me to learn how to detect and diffuse a potentially harmful encounter so that I do not get caught up needing to prove how bright I am in order to win an argument. Help me to discern when You and your principles are under attack and in those situations give me the wisdom, knowledge and courage to fight to the bitter end. For in so doing I am glorifying you. And in all other situations give me the supernatural wisdom and peace to lay down my arms, if necessary, for the sake of my brother. Amen