On June 12, 1987, at the Brandenburg Gate near the Berlin Wall, United States President Ronald Reagan challenged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to "Tear Down This Wall." About 30 months later, the Berlin Wall started coming down.
I had the privilege of being at the Berlin Wall not long after it had started being destroyed. There were several business-minded entrepreneurs there, renting hammers for $5 so visitors could chip off a piece of the wall as a souvenir. I immediately decided to chip away! I still have a couple pieces of this historic wall.
Just as the Berlin Wall kept many people from crossing over from the East to the West, and West to the East, there are many other types of walls that prevent good things from being accomplished. Sometimes these walls prevent God's will from being accomplished. (For sure, sometimes walls can be very good and helpful, but the focus here is on what I would call "destructive" walls.)
At The Sending Project, we are energized about 3 types of "destructive" walls coming down. The tearing down of each of these 3 types of walls is extremely important, and when experienced together simultaneously, they have an incredible impact!
First, the walls of injustice around the world. Things like poverty, racism, human trafficking, hunger, lack of safe water, and people not knowing about the love and message of Jesus. These walls are prevalent in various locations around the world, and in many places they're extreme. In Luke 4, Jesus quoted from Isaiah, and said of Himself:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor."
We can be sure that breaking down walls of injustice in the world is central to the heart and mission of Jesus.
Second, the walls of division within the universal Church--the followers of Jesus Christ. By taking note of Jesus' prayer in John 17:23, we can see the clear connection between the unity of believers and the mission of God in the world being more fully realized. Jesus was praying for unity, but not just for unity's sake--He was praying for unity for the purpose of mission. Not only will unity in the Church draw others to Jesus, but I believe we'll be more practically effective in our missional efforts when we're unified.
Third, the walls within the hearts of individuals--walls within our own hearts. As we get connected with God and His mission, and serve in unity with other believers--even those from other churches than our own--walls in our own hearts will start to crumble. I know God has begun a good work in me, and He says He'll be "faithful to complete it." (Philippians 1:6) I believe this is one of the ways He is doing that. I know He has a lot of work to do in me, so I'd better be focused on tearing down some walls of division within the Church and walls of injustice in the world! You want to grow in your understanding of God and His love? Start getting connected with others in the context of tearing down some destructive walls in your city and/or around the world.
When you experience the convergence of these 3 types of walls coming down, it is an amazing and exponentially dramatic thing! I encourage you to get involved with a wall-breaking adventure with people from other churches...tearing down walls of injustice in the world, walls of division in the Church, and walls of selfishness in your own life. This is all stuff that the Spirit of God does as we take steps of faith toward involvement with Him and His mission. All glory and honor to God!
Let's tear down some walls...together!
Sat, May 21, 2011
by Eric Rochester