"Abraham looked for that City, whose builder and maker is God" (Hebrews 11:10).
God designed the Church to function as a unified community of spiritually gifted, ethnically diverse, men and women loving and serving one another in humility, availability, and submission; thereby presenting to the world a compelling case for trusting Christ alone for salvation.
If we are faithful in following the teachings of the Bible, and are being filled with and led by the Holy Spirit (who authored the Bible), then this is the Church we will become. To the measure that we are not becoming this Church, then we are following the teachings and traditions of men, and are being filled with and led by the spirit of another instead of Christ.
Satan, who is called the Accuser of the Brethren, takes great delight is soliciting our unwitting participation in his campaign to divide and discredit the Church. The Greek word for accuser is kategoros, from which we get the English word category. It means to be against another in a criticizing way; to put another down by elevating oneself as a judge. The moment you find your heart categorizing other believers who differ from your traditions of faith, you are at risk of being complicit in Satan's destructive schemes against the City, whose builder and Maker is God.
While you may enjoy God's presence, and experience His power in the context of your local assembly, with its particular history and practices, never lose sight of the fact that you are nevertheless part of a vastly larger Kingdom — in which diversity plays a major role. Rather than sitting in judgment over those who may do it different from you, or who emphasize things other that what you personally deem most important, rejoice in knowing that Christ is being preached far beyond your own borders and abilities.
It is His Church, not yours. He is the Head; not you. Take your place with humility, and give thanks to God that many others are also taking their place as the Lord directs.
Remember, the Church is both local and global. On a global scale it appeals to all who hunger and thirst after righteousness, and therefore is filled with such variety of people that there is no other organization on the earth that rivals it. Yet, on a local scale it may be more tempered to a particular people group than the broader audience of the world, and thus might seem somewhat narrow and exclusive.
Both are legitimate expressions of the Body of Christ and, as such, should be held in highest esteem. Neither holding the other in contempt, nor seeking to defame in any way those who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Be a part of a local church, but also be a citizen in that City whose builder and maker is God. That is what the Lord is doing in today's world.
What are you doing?
Adapted from Daily Devotions by James Ryle