Friday 5 April

7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

8Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

The Greek word translated “devil” is diabolos. It is made up of two words: dia “across” or “through” and ballein “to throw” – literally “to throw through.” If I throw a ball through my living room the window will shatter. Diabolos is that force in life which shatters. It fragments; it breaks things apart. Diabolos majors in disconnection. When diabolos is at work, things fall apart; everything is out of join. Diabolos is the force of disunity.

It is hard, looking at the state of the Christian church since the Reformation, not to worry that the force of diabolos has perhaps been at work as the body of Christ, at least in its Protestant manifestation, has shattered into more than 30,000 different flavours.

Whatever happened to Jesus’ great high priestly prayer? For all those who remained behind in this material timebound realm after he was gone Jesus prayed,

I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. (John 17:20,21)

The fragmented church is merely a reflection of the fragmentation within the hearts of those who make up the church. We divide because we are “double-minded.” We are going in two directions at the same time.

I want God’s way in my life; I want to be pure, holy, loving, and true. But, at the same time, I want things to go my way. I want life to fulfill my dreams, aspirations, and desires. I want the church to be a place that is comfortable for me, a place where I feel supported and encouraged. When it seems to me that you are getting in the way of my plans, my visions, and my strategies, I will walk away from you and seek out more compatible company. And so, diabolos does its work. The body is broken again.