Life is a precious gift from God, but life has its strife. In the middle of those three words, "life," "gift," and "strife" is the word "if." Life is "iffy," too with its twists and turns. Most importantly, life is conditional, dependent upon the "if" of us doing our part in our relationship with God. If we do our part, then God will do His part.

One of the things we must do to build unity in the community and eliminate so much unnecessary strife is to focus on 2 Chronicles 7:14, and the "if" of life. Yes, there is an "if" in life, but there is also an "if" of life. The "if" in life, has to do with what happens to us. The "if" of life has to do with what happens through us.

2 Chronicles 7:14 speaks about the people of God who were called by His name. It starts, "If my people...." It was originally given to Solomon concerning the children of Israel. If the people of God were to focus on the things of God, we could build unity in the community.

The "if" of life is conditional on us doing our part in life everyday, humbling ourselves, praying, seeking the face of God, turning from our wicked ways. God promises that when we do these things, He will hear from heaven, forgive our sins, and heal the land, the land of our dysfunctional relationships and broken marriages, the land of our addictions and diseases, the land of our heartache and despair, the land of our unrealized potential, vacilating vunerabilites and elementary tendencies, and the land of our blighted communities. We've been traveling down dusty roads in these barren lands far too long. If only we could find Route 66 with its on ramp at Genesis and its off ramp at Revelation! We must focus on the "if" of life.

Another thing we must do to build unity in the community is to focus on Ephesians 4:7-14 and "if" of "gift." Yes, there is an "if" in "gift," but there is also an "if" of "gift." The "if" in "gift" has to do with what man gives to us. The "if" of "gift" has to do with what God gives through us. Ephesians 4:7-8 tells us Jesus, the perfect Gift, has given gifts to men. Our gifts have been given "for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ" (v12). He didn't save us just to sit. He saved us to serve.

God promises that if His people were use their spiritual gifts to preach, teach, evangelize, and pastor, we would eliminate so of the strife and become built up in the unity of the faith. And unity is what we need.

The Scriptures say, "Then we will no longer be infants tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceiftful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work" (v14-18). Focusing on the 'if" of "gift" requires that we not neglect our gifts (1 Tim 4:14), but that we stir up our gifts (2 Tim 1:6).

If the people of God who are called by His name would focus on the "if" of "gift" and the "if" of "life", we could build unity in the community and eliminate some of this strife in life!

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