Verse: 1 Corinthians 1:10-17
10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
Could there be a more relevant verse for today? Paul's appeal to the church is to have "no divisions" and to be "perfectly united." The Colossians were allowing their allegiance to their leader of choice to divide them. Good thing we don't still do that! It's a relief that people's political party, or favorite author or ideology don't divide us! (Note the sarcasm!)
People are leaving churches over political differences.
Just let that hang there for a second.
This isn't really the problem though. It's a symptom of a greater problem. I would argue that possibly the greater issue, the real "sickness", is our anemic understanding of what the church really is. We are supposed to be the family of God. We are supposed to have each other's backs no matter what. We are supposed to understand that what binds us together (the blood of Jesus, the testimony of our faith, and the Word of God) is so much stronger than what divides us. If we truly understood and embodied God's vision for his Church, we would learn to work through division. We would learn the power of forgiveness, listening, reconciliation, hard talks, and assuming the best. We would learn to be each other's brothers and sisters, even when we disagree.
Sadly, we've let the culture of division that is so prevalent in our world today not just infiltrate, but saturate, the church. We have become just as bad as the world. When we do this, we bring dishonor to God's name, we ruin our witness, and we cease to be a light to the world.
Too harsh? Next week we'll get into Chapter 3 where Paul tells them they are "still worldly." Why? What's his reasoning? Simple. They are divided. That division is proof that they are still worldly.
Debbie Downer here today I know. Sorry. Devotions are supposed to be uplifting. Maybe tomorrow! But for now, these verses are convicting. I wonder how we should live differently based on the Word of God? I wonder how we should treat each other differently - specifically those we disagree with? I wonder what it truly means to be in the family of God - to be his church? I wonder if, and hope, we can recapture that. Because the world is simply getting darker, and a divided, arguing, fractured church won't be the light they need.
God, revival starts with me, in my heart. Help me to see where I am contributing to division, and give me the courage to heal the divides.