One of my pet peeves is wallpaper arguments. Often, when I speak at women’s retreats and events, I ask the women, “Can we just agree to stop arguing about the wallpaper?”
I’ve seen too many churches split, organizations splinter, and friends separate over wallpaper arguments. Do you know what I’m talking about?
Rather than being concerned about loving God, loving people, and living as lights in the world, we argue about worship styles, wallpaper, women’s roles and things that just don’t matter when you put them alongside the good news of Jesus Christ. Can I get an “Amen?”
Now, before you get all uptight, I’m not saying that these sorts of things aren’t important. Some of them are. But they are not worth dividing over. Parents are grieving. People are hungry. Children are being gassed. People are looking at us argue about the wallpaper and they have no idea that our Jesus has any relevance for their lives.
Can we stop arguing about the wallpaper and join hands in Christ?
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. Philippians 1:3-5
Partnership in the gospel.
Every time Paul thought about Lydia and her girlfriends who gathered at the riverside to pray, he thanked God for them. Every time he prayed for these Jesus girls, he prayed with joy.
From that very first day when Paul and Timothy met Lydia, he had a sense of partnership with her. Lydia’s heart was opened to the good news of Jesus. She paid attention to what Paul said. She surrendered her heart to Jesus and was baptized. And she welcomed Paul and Timothy into her home. She was his partner in the gospel.
Lydia’s home became a gathering place for Christians in Philippi. Men joined in this work, but it began with women down by the riverside. Women who partnered with Paul in the gospel rather than arguing about the wallpaper.
Do you have partners in the gospel? Maybe you long for gospel partnership friends, but don’t know how to find them. Here’s another post to get you started. Are you currently involved in any wallpaper arguments? Do you need to go to someone(s) and confess that you have been concerned about the wallpaper and ask forgiveness? This is not an easy thing to do, but it is critical to developing joy-filled, productive partnerships in which God is glorified and we experience all the fullness of life Christ offers.
- Read Romans 1:8-10. How is Paul’s expression of thankfulness for the church in Rome similar to this one for the church in Philippi? How is it different? Do these passages speak to you about any relationships in your life?
- Read Ephesians 1:15-23. Paul is giving thanks for the believers in Ephesus, but he is also praying for them. What is Paul praying for these partners in the gospel? Could you use this passage to guide your prayers for someone in your life? Maybe someone who you struggle to love?