Scripture: 2 Cor 13: 11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
Observation: Division among Christians may tear a Church apart, but unity and peace will draw us closer to God.
Application: We have no shortage of examples for divided churches, congregations at odds with one another, and hateful words between fellow believers. If we can’t see it within our own congregations today, all we have to do is wait. But what Paul was trying to teach the Corinthian Church was that if we seek to praise God above ourselves, if we continually strive for a deeper spiritual walk, if we lift each other up, and unite in the cause and ministry of the Church, then God is with us and will keep us from destroying ourselves with our prideful hearts. If we remain true and faithful in the business of loving one another, God will purge the negative things that we must encounter from us and they will fall away.
One thing that I have noticed as a Pastor that I don’t think I would have seen otherwise is that Churches are very much like individual people. Each congregation has its own personality and spirit. Sometimes, just like us as individuals a congregation goes through a time of tribulation and testing. These times can be very difficult and can (if they are not stopped) destroy a congregation completely and scatter the flock. Other times as a congregation goes through a tough time, it can pull together and come out on the other side stronger and more committed to God. What is the difference? The difference is not the time of tribulation and testing, because we all face those, in personal life and in the life of a congregation. The difference is in how we respond.
As a person I must be first and foremost about loving God, and because of that I must also be about loving other people. If I lose the love of others, then I’m not really loving God either. If I’m not about loving God and other people, then I will eventually find myself in a situation that is going to destroy me. But if my priorities are right, Love God, Love others, then no matter what happens, God will be with me and will bring me through the roughest storms. Yay tho I walk through the valley…
If you find your congregation is struggling with division and turmoil, try interjecting love and understanding for each other – (it starts with you!) And if you find division and turmoil in your personal life or in your family the same recipe applies; Love God – Love Others – and by doing so you’re really loving yourself and bringing your life and cirucumstance into the area which your Heavenly Father can bless and support you.
Prayer: Heavenly Father,
Help me to get my priorities straight! Help me first to love You, then to love others, even those who I find difficult to love. Let me serve you by serving others. Father walk with me through the hard times, and carry me through the valleys so that I may sing your praises whether I’m on top of the mountain, or whether I’m down as far as I can get.
Yield: I pray God’s help in giving over my tendencies to see things only from my point of view. I give up my one world view.