By David Faust
When you go grocery shopping, do you ever get one of those shopping carts that has a crooked wheel? It’s hard to push the cart when it’s out of alignment.
Alignment is important in a car. If all four wheels aren’t aligned, the tires wear out faster, the steering wheel shakes, and the car is harder to drive.
Alignment is important in sports. Football players practice until every team member knows the playbook and understands how to execute his part of the game plan.
My chiropractor friend adjusts the spines of his patients to undo the damaging effects of falls, jerks, accidents, improper lifting, and poor posture. He says, “In the human body, alignment brings clarity and improved function.” The same is true of the spiritual body of Christ.
In a perfect world everything would be aligned with the will of God. Our bodies would work right. Inter-personal relationships would work right. Our minds would be clear and focused. Our actions would line up with what we believe.
But we live in a world seriously out of alignment. In the prophet Zephaniah’s day, government leaders acted like roaring lions and hungry wolves, and religious leaders were unprincipled, treacherous, and profane (Zephaniah 3:3, 4). God wasn’t to blame for these problems. “The Lord . . . does no wrong. Morning by morning he dispenses his justice, and every new day he does not fail; yet the unrighteous know no shame” (3:5).
Jesus’ plans aligned with the Father’s will. He calmly stated, “Whatever the Father does the Son also does” (John 5:19). He lived by the motto, “Not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42) because his heart pursued the priorities of Heaven. Jesus prayed that his disciples would be aligned with each other—“brought to complete unity”—so their testimony would be unhindered by division (John 17:23).
Do our plans and goals align with God’s will? Someone has said, “All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.” The Bible puts it this way: “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans” (Proverbs 16:3). For followers of Christ, each day is filled with opportunities to align our choices with the heart of God.
What does healthy alignment look like in the church? It doesn’t mean heavy-handed control where leaders at the top dictate what everyone else should do. Healthy alignment means church members have a common understanding of where the congregation is going. They mutually support one another and believe the best about each other. They rally around common goals and pursue a common mission. They “keep the main thing the main thing.” They focus on unity in essentials, while demonstrating diversity and mutual respect in matters of opinion. In a well-aligned church, leaders are ambassadors of accurate information who speak with one voice. They make God’s will and his kingdom their highest concern, not their own pet projects or ministry areas.
Author Patrick Lencioni said, “The healthiest organizations identify a small set of values that are particularly fundamental to their culture and adhere to those values without exception.” If we want to lead productive, well-aligned lives, the core values of biblical truth and Christian love make a great place to start.
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Based on International Sunday School Lesson, © 2012, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.
|June 6||M.||Deuteronomy 4:9-14||Remember the Commandments|
|June 7||T.||Proverbs 16:1-9||Godly Planning|
|June 8||W.||Ezekiel 33:27-33||Ungodly Planning|
|June 9||T.||Matthew 11:25-30||Promised Rest|
|June 10||F.||1 Peter 5:1-6||Humble Planning|
|June 11||S.||1 Peter 5:7-11||Faithful Planning|
|June 12||S.||Zephaniah 3:1-8||Consequences of Disobedience|
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