READING: 1 Corinthians 1-4
Quarrels. Conflict. Division. Competition. Rivalry. I’ve seen all of these issues in local churches.
And, if I’m honest, I’ve been a part of some of them at different points in my Christian journey. I once told a pastor my concerns about his leadership when I was an arrogant teenage Christian brat. I’ve chosen sides in church conflicts, and I’ve competed as a pastor to make sure others knew how significant I was.
I’ve been a tool of the enemy, acting more like the Corinthians in Paul’s day than like a growing disciple of Christ. The Corinthians should have been “perfectly united in mind and thought” (1 Cor 1:10), but instead they were quarreling among themselves. They rallied around leaders like Paul, Apollos, and Cephas more than genuinely around Christ (1 Cor 1:12). They should have been mature believers, but they acted like what they really were: “people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ” (1 Cor 3:1).
Meanwhile, Paul, their “father through the gospel” (1 Cor 4:15) understood the foolishness of their quarreling. After all, Christ was their Lord, and He is not divided (1 Cor 1:13). No one had room to boast, for God chooses the weak and the lowly to lead His work (1 Cor 1:26-29). Even when their ministry seemed effective, it was God alone who had been “making it grow” (1 Cor 3:7). In fact, no one in Corinth would have ever been part of the family of God were it not for the Holy Spirit’s first revealing truth to him or her (1 Cor 2:10-16).
God is the Redeemer who saved us through Christ crucified and the Judge who will “bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart” (1 Cor 4:5). When I remember those truths, any reason I claim to cling to arrogant quarrels and jealousies seems really silly. Stupid, in fact.
Perhaps even demonic.
- Examine your heart for any lingering bitterness or jealousies. Confess your sin to God, and seek reconciliation with others if possible.
- Pray throughout the day for the unity of your church.
PRAYER: “Father, make our church a united church. Reveal to me any bitterness in my heart that gets in the way of that goal.”
TOMORROW’S READING: 1 Corinthians 5-8