2 Chronicles 36:1-23; 1 Corinthians 1:10-17; Psalms 27:7-10; Proverbs 10:31-32
NT: “Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, that there be no divisions among you, and that you be united with the same understanding and the same conviction. For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers and sisters, by members of Chloe’s people, that there is rivalry among you.” (1 Corinthians 1:10-11 CSB)
One of the issues that had developed in the Corinthian church was the presence of factions in the community. It had been reported to Paul that there were rivalries in the church. The word translated here as rivalry actually means quarreling, contention and strife. The body of Christ in Corinth had divided itself into cliques, and the cliques were fighting each other. How did this happen? One cause may have been the influence of Greek philosophy. The Greeks valued philosophy, and that attitude may have crept into the church – where people were trying to one-up each other by the “truth” that they philosophically mined from the scriptures. It also appears that the people in the church were rallying behind the various spiritual leaders that had influence in the church. Some were saying they were of Apollos, while others were of Cephas… and others were of Paul… and the really spiritual ones, well they claimed to be of Christ. It was the whole, “My pastor is better than your pastor” thing. Instead of following Christ as Lord of the church, they were following their chosen messenger. Regardless the cause for the strife and division, it was wrong and not becoming the Church of God.
Paul urged them, as brothers and sisters in Christ, to be united under the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ wasn’t revealed one way to Paul, and then another way to Apollos. Christ wasn’t divided. There is one Christ, and He has been revealed to all of us, in the same way, through the word and the gospel of God. Paul called the church to be united with the same understanding and the same convictions. The word translated here as “united” is the Greek word katartizo. It means to mend what has been broken – to make something sound and complete. In other words, Paul said in order to heal their schisms, they needed to set aside their team rivalries and come under the same mind and judgement: the mind and judgement of Christ. In the church today, there are all kinds of variations: hundreds of denominations and multiplied thousands of leaders and congregations. But if our loyalty is primarily for our denomination, or our pastor, or our church; we fail to be the Church of God in Christ Jesus. The church that God has established has one Head and Lord, and He is Christ Jesus. There is one gospel, and regardless the nuances and differences of opinions we may have, we can and should be united under that one gospel message. Despite the various nuanced interpretations of the Bible, we can and should all have the mind of Christ as we humble ourselves, place our faith in Him and are filled with His Holy Spirit. Instead of seeking new philosophies and fresh teachings, we need to primarily seek Him – the Lord Jesus Christ… and in seeking Him, we will be unified.
Psalms: “Lord, hear my voice when I call; be gracious to me and answer me. My heart says this about you: “Seek his face.” Lord, I will seek your face. Do not hide your face from me; do not turn your servant away in anger. You have been my helper; do not leave me or abandon me, God of my salvation. Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord cares for me.” (Psalms 27:7-10 CSB)
A common theme throughout scripture is that if we seek the Lord, we will find Him if we seek Him with all our heart. Though David was intelligent, creative and gifted as a leader and warrior, his confidence was not in himself. His confidence was in the Lord. As his enemies were coming against him and undoubtedly setting traps for him to fall into, David knew the only way to avoid the traps and be saved was to seek God’s face. Because he knew the Lord‘s character, David knew that if he fully sought the Lord and faithfully followed His word, he would find the Lord and God would not leave him nor abandon him to his own devices. If that was true for David, how much more is that true of us who are in Christ Jesus through faith and have been graced with the ever-present Helper of the Holy Spirit. My made-new heart tells me to seek God’s face, so it is the Lord that I will primarily seek in everything… and in seeking Him, I won’t get trapped or lost, and will be led by Him to salvation and glory.
Prayer: Lord, it is human nature to form factions and cliques that seek to create advantages over others. It is human nature to rely on my own intellect and use it to compete with others for notoriety and recognition. It is human nature to try to differentiate myself from others in order to stand out and gain attention. Yet, You do not call me to live according to human nature. You call me to live according to the divine nature that You have graced me with by faith in Christ. The way for me to navigate through all the traps of my human nature and live the glorified life You have called me to, is to seek Your face and to seek You first. You are my Lord and I belong to You – so I humble myself, deny my flesh and human nature, and seek You in everything – knowing that You will not abandon me, but will lead me in Your ways to Your wisdom and Your everlasting life.