Mark 3:24 – 26 “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come.”
Have you ever been accused of something ridiculous? Jesus was. In this passage, Jesus was responding to teachers of the law who, because Jesus was casting out demons, accused him of being in cahoots with Satan. But of course, that is ridiculous. If Jesus had been collaborating with Satan, why on earth would he be casting out demons?
Jesus’ response was both simple and profound, and it has caused me to examine my own life. Is my house divided against itself?
Let’s start with my local church. What a wonderful church family I belong to! We are truly a family. We love and care about one another, and I believe that our little body of believers is doing exactly what we are supposed to be doing. But I’m sad to say, I’ve been a part of some local church bodies that were divided against themselves. When that happens – when there is fighting and arguing and backstabbing and backbiting, nobody wins. Except maybe Satan.
And what about my family? Are we divided? Am I loving my husband and my children with a self-sacrificing love, or am I unknowingly working against them? Am I criticizing and tearing down, or am I always building up? When I am selfish and self-centered, I cause division in my marriage and my family. I don’t want that. I want us to be unified.
What about in my own heart? Am I sold out for Christ, or am I at war within myself, trying to decide whom to serve? Is my life His to do with as He wants, or is there a part of me playing tug-of-war with my Savior?
A key way to prevent division in our churches and our families is to lay down our lives for Christ. We must give up our rights to our own desires, and put others’ needs ahead of our own. If we all do this, we will not have divided churches or divided families. And when we truly lay down our lives for Christ, becoming 100% sold-out for Him, we will not be divided against ourselves. Oh, we may be tempted at times. But it will not cause a split down the center of our souls, if we have truly given up ourselves for Christ.
Jesus modeled this perfectly for us. He didn’t want to die an excruciatingly painful, humiliating death on the cross. Of course He didn’t want that! But He did it anyway, because He was sold-out to His purpose. He was not divided against Himself or His cause: to pay the penalty for our sins so that we might be reconciled with God. And so, He submitted to death on a cross.
What about me? What am I willing to sacrifice so that my church, my family, and even my own soul can be unified in purpose? If we each, like Christ, can choose to put the greater good ahead of our own selfishness, we will find unity. Solidarity. Strength.
And we will stand.
Dear Father, Help me to contribute to unity, and not division.