“From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?” (James 4:1)
I believe that if you would pay attention to the subtleties within the church that you attend, you would find more contentions than what you would like to see. Few overt of course, at least not very often, but nevertheless there, just underneath the surface of the shiny veneer, most often in those who are “religious” within the congregation. “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:” (Romans 12:4) and it is here that those contentions breed, here is where they are born, and it is because of pride mixed with jealousy and vanity.
It is the eye believing that it is more influential, more necessary than the hand, and that individual believes that if everyone was an eye, the body of believers would function in a way that would be able to glorify the Lord better. More than often these sins, for that is what they are, sins against not only the body of Christ, but against Christ Himself, are as I stated expressed subtly, with words that are not so easy for some to discern, with sideways looks or glances at something or someone else besides towards the one that is speaking. This is not a new phenomenon, Paul spoke of it in 1 Corinthians 6:7-8 when he questioned those present about not being able to contend peaceably with each other in the church, in fact, some of them were even going into the secular court system asking those who held to the laws of men to judge between the differences they held.
Those who live this way are not only not well versed in the Scriptures on these matters, but are unwilling to submit to the authority of the hand when it is the hand, and not the eye, that is necessary for the particular work or responsibility that needs to be addressed. There is a selfish manner about these people, and to say they are high minded would be an understatement. Not always, but often they are either long standing members of the congregation, as so believe themselves because of “time served,” better equipped to handle whatever comes up, but many times you will find this attribute in the pastor of the church, especially if he is younger.
Four years, or sometimes only two, have given them the idea that they are now prepared to not only handle quite well any incident that may arise, but they are in fact sure that because they now hold a piece of paper that has written on it “Pastor,” they are indeed men of God. “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.” (Prov. 1:5)
Most churches, whether they be evangelical or religious cults, have within them a form of hierarchy, not dissimilar to Ephesians 4:11, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;” in other words, in their minds, the buck stops at the pastor’s pulpit, sadly though, far too many times whether he is Scripturally correct or not. When he is misinterpreting the Word of God, few if any will reprove him, and there is where the subtlety comes into play.
There are those who are more than willing to inform people that if they do not repent, they will die in their sins, but those who will not do so seem to have a tendency to believe that none should, and of course at times this is true of the other party. It is our pride that keeps us from speaking on these issues within the congregation, and it is our pride at times that can do nothing but speak of them. Test your memory here, when was the last time, if ever, your pastor asked everyone that is a member of the church to show up on a Wednesday night for one specific purpose, to find out who the eyes are, who the hands are, what place in the body of Christ every single member holds a position in. I am afraid if it was to happen that it might be found out that the church has nothing but a lot of mouths, or ears, or eyes, or worse yet, many would not even know themselves what they are, what position the Lord has placed them in.
But think of how well that body of believers would function, not only in the church setting, but in the community itself if they were to attempt this task. And all under the authority of the head of the body, Jesus Christ Himself.