LifeLink Devotions (Click Link for Audio Blog)
Wednesday, November 17, 2021
Yesterday we began a discussion on unity in the Body of Christ. One additional thought from yesterday is this – unity is not something we accomplish or create – it is something we experience as a gift of the Holy Spirit. Paul says, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit.” Notice that he does not tell us to create unity, or to develop unity, or to strive for unity, but rather he says to keep the unity of the Spirit. We are caretakers of what the Holy Spirit produces when our hearts are focused on the person and work of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior!
For today you were asked to read and study First Corinthians chapter 3. In that passage we see the ways in which people tend to divide churches rather than unite them. It’s easy then to see how churches fail to keep this wonderful gift from God called unity.
1 Corinthians 3:3-9, 21-23 “You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe – as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future – all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.”
Paul admonishes the church at Corinth to consider why there were divisions between groups of people.
- People were acting according to the world’s standards of behavior and not according to the Spirit’s transforming power. The worldly characteristics of social and economic advancement had become the norm of the church. People were seeking their own agendas and aligning themselves with support groups that would help them defend their positions. They even went so far as to become name-droppers, hoping that the influence of a famous and influential person would add credibility to their position. Some even claimed that they were the most committed to Christ. What arrogance it is to try and win an argument by playing the “I’m the most spiritually minded” card.
- People were suffering from worldly insecurity, which manifested itself in selfishness. You see, insecure people desire and demand value to be added to their lives, and in most cases that value is added by making comparisons to others. When an insecure person can judge their lives to be more successful or spiritual than someone else, they feel good. When their lives are not so successful or spiritual as another person, jealousy results. Then quarrelling begins as people try to prove their positions for the sake of defending their personal value.
- People were giving the credit to men for spiritual accomplishments when God alone is worthy of all glory and praise. “So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” Anytime people take credit for what God alone can accomplish the Holy Spirit’s ministry is quenched and the spirit of unity is destroyed.
As you can see, when the focus of our lives turns from Christ to men, huge problems result. Paul says it this way – “So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future – all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.”
Do not be a follower of a mere man or woman. Do not model your life after a mortal person. Do not attempt to add value and credibility to your life by aligning yourself with a particular preacher or movement that claims some superior knowledge or spiritual experience. Do not even call your particular theological position by a man’s name. Man has no business standing in the place of God. His only business is being a servant of God.
Please look carefully at every area of your spiritual life, and make sure that no claim to fame is being made because of what you believe or claim to know. If there is any pride in us, any attempt to draw attention to ourselves, any jealousy, or any need to cover our insecurities by adding value found in affiliations with famous people, then we must humble ourselves before God and repent, asking for His forgiveness so that we might exalt Jesus Christ in all things. Then and only then will we be able to keep the unity of the Spirit.