Sometimes we will encounter another Christian or Christian group on the same battlefield. Will we oppose their presence, tolerate their presence, ignore it, or unite with them to win the battle?
The question never really centers around the method of our group versus the method of the other group. The question is loyalty to the group versus loyalty to Jesus Christ. He commands both groups. For infantrymen not to accept the cooperation of tanks is not only stupid, it is disobedience to the one commander of both tanks and infantry. Our controversy is not with the other group— it is with Jesus Christ:
“John said to him, ‘Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him because he was not following us.’ But Jesus said, ‘Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is for us’” (Mk. 9:38–40).
Our determining factor is the person Jesus Christ. A man may not be with our group, and we may disapprove of his methods, but if we agree with his loyalty to Jesus Christ and with his message, we should cooperate. Paul saw this very clearly when he wrote:
“Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of partisanship, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in that I rejoice” (Phil. 1:15–18).
The other fellow’s motives should not be our concern. This is easy to say, but to enter into an open-hearted willingness to work with someone from another camp is not so easy. The problem is that we, as allied groups, are not close enough to the Supreme Commander, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The solution, then, is to spend more time with Jesus Christ individually, in our group, and with other groups. This time should not be spent in thinking or talking about distinctives or differences, nor should it be spent in accusation or introspection. We should spend our time with God in prayer, praise, worship, reading, study, and meditation. When we listen to Him, talk to Him, sing praise to Him, and talk about Him, we will come to know Him better. We will begin to realize more of His love and power, and to follow more closely His commandments and purpose.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn. 13:34–35).
*Excerpted from Principles of War. To purchase, visit ccmbooks.org/bookstore.