Chain of Command
Most every believer will know that God calls us to love the Lord your God out of and with your whole heart and out of and with all your soul (your life) and out of and with all your mind (with your faculty of thought and your moral understanding) and out of and with all your strength. This is the first and principal commandment. Mark 12:30 (Amplified Bible).
So in those few words we have a template for a successful Christian life.
But how should we interact with those who are not believers, or those of our family, our church body and of course the world?
Long ago, God showed me what I believe is His 'pecking order' concerning how we should interact with those folk.
Our first priority must always be to God, who in the case of believers means Christ, for ALL power and authority has been given to Him until the job is done, and He relinquishes it back to God.
Next in line would be our spouse (being non gender here) who deserves our attention in all instances except where it would cause separation in our relationship with Christ.
After this our allegiance is to our family, starting with the elders.... Grand parents, parents, siblings and then our children.
Only then does the 'church ' feature in the equation, and by the word church, I mean it's true definition, the body of Christ, our brethren.
Of course the correct alignment here is again to our Pastor, followed by the leadership, however the brethren still rank significantly, especially where the church and leadership are ensconced and may tend towards denominational boundaries.
That is.... where the church holds the view that Christ meant anything other than the fact, that all who have recieved Christ as their Saviour, and been regenerated by Christ ARE the body of Christ, and such things as personal doctrines will not and should not separate us from the fellowship with our brethren.
Romans 14:4-6 (Amplified Bible)
Who are you to pass judgment on and censure another's household servant? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he shall stand and be upheld, for the Master (the Lord) is mighty to support him and make him stand.
One man esteems one day as better than another, while another man esteems all days alike [sacred]. Let everyone be fully convinced (satisfied) in his own mind.
He who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. He also who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; while he who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.
The church structure that we belong to may have a prominent part to play in our lives, but the brethren rank above that of buildings and doctrines.
Denominations are an error we have lived with since the church was first kidnapped by those who felt that God had been less than detailed about who could belong to the body of Christ.
It brought about the Easter/Western division, and got even more preclusion under Roman Catholicism, the Protestant reformation did little to solve the issue, and as a direct result we now have 31,000 'branches ' on the same tree, most of whome insist that they hold all truth and all the others are wrong.... some less wrong than others, but hey! still wrong.
Sorry, going off on a rant here, but just maybe it's a God inspired rant that needs to come out again.
Throughout history God has maintained His remnant of Spirit filled regenerated believers who carry the torch of the testimony.
The established church normally shuns them, calls them heretics and in times past killed them.
Fortunately God has always created new blood that recognizes Christ alone as their authority, to replace those martyred on the stony ground of Pharisaical self righteousness and denominations.
We are talking here of a chain of authority that flows from God to the world, and that chain has links, the links being....
In descending order of authority.
Note that the world comes bottom of the chain, yes we have an authority OVER the world in Christ, but we only have authority when we are correctly related to this chain.
If you ignore the order, shuffle the deck and reorder the sequence, you WILL have trouble with all those links above where you have changed the order.
Put your spouse above God and God will not be able to bless you as He would do.
Put your family in poll position and you will have trouble with your spouse and God.
Put the church above God, your family and your spouse and you are really heading for trouble.
Put the world at the top of your priorities and you are plain (dumb) and lost.
The correct sequence of authority works, no other combination will do so.
It may function well for a while, but it has no real foundations to withstand the test of time and tide, it WILL crumble.
No wonder the secular humanist world is so lost, no wonder so many believers ever seem to get their situation with God in order, when their situation with the rest of the sequence is wrong.
Examine where YOUR priorities are focused upon, then see whether they match up to the chain of command.
If they do not, you may see why your life is not in harmony with God.
Matthew 6:33 (Amplified Bible)
But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.