We can all hear our parents, teachers, both public and Sunday School, along with coaches and youth workers, anyone with authority over us, shouting this with frustrated, passionate voices in the heat of chaos and bad tempers. Disagreements come in all sizes. They are about the way a game is played, how food is prepared, how a sandwich was divided, down to my personal favorite…crossing the imaginary line in the back seat. My brother and I dared each other to cross that line! I discovered that all kids, my kids, do the same tireless game. “Crossing the line” can cause war in our households unless diffused rapidly. We discover it is easy to disagree about anything and everything!
You would think as we grow older, we would become wiser with learning to deescalate the wars of dissension, getting our own way, wanting to live life on our terms at all costs without the consideration of what others think. But we haven’t completely. Selfishness, set in our own ways, jockeying for position, seep into our being and disrupt what God wants to do through his church. It happens at church!?! Yes, Linda, it happens severely and painfully within the church body. We must remember we are not perfect, only perfectly forgiven, saved by grace alone not by works, so our “works”—God’s work in and through are called into question at times by others, criticizes unmercifully and gossip ensues.
How can we get along as the Body of Christ? Paul helps us as he helped the church at Corinth. Cultivate a life in common. Our commonality is Jesus Christ, crucified for all our sins, rose again, defeating death, so that we who truly believe will live with Him forever. Go back to basics when trivial arguments rise up. Remember Who gave us life, saved our souls, made us whole, renewed our Spirits, and restored the joy of His salvation in us. Remember Who matures us in our walk with Him. Remember Who to listen to for guidance with hearts of obedience. Remember Jesus, Savior and Lord.
Can’t we just get along? God desires his “kids” in the back seat, with Jesus driving in the front, to forget about the imaginary lives drawn of hatred, jealousy, envy, comparisons—all behaviors opposite of God’s character. Yield, instead to God’s Holy Spirit. God’s character traits are matured in us when we all yield to our commonality—Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. His Holy Spirit then works in us to bear his character, hour by hour, day by day. See Galatians 5 for a list of the fruits of His holy character.
Remember where we came from when Jesus embraced and saved us. “Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life.”
CORINTHIANS—CALLED AND SENT
1 Corinthians 1:10-31, The Message
The Cross: The Irony of God’s Wisdom
10 I have a serious concern to bring up with you, my friends, using the authority of Jesus, our Master. I’ll put it as urgently as I can: You must get along with each other. You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a life in common.
11-12 I bring this up because some from Chloe’s family brought a most disturbing report to my attention—that you’re fighting among yourselves! I’ll tell you exactly what I was told: You’re all picking sides, going around saying, “I’m on Paul’s side,” or “I’m for Apollos,” or “Peter is my man,” or “I’m in the Messiah group.”
13-16 I ask you, “Has the Messiah been chopped up in little pieces so we can each have a relic all our own? Was Paul crucified for you? Was a single one of you baptized in Paul’s name?” I was not involved with any of your baptisms—except for Crispus and Gaius—and on getting this report, I’m sure glad I wasn’t. At least no one can go around saying he was baptized in my name. (Come to think of it, I also baptized Stephanas’s family, but as far as I can recall, that’s it.)
17 God didn’t send me out to collect a following for myself, but to preach the Message of what he has done, collecting a following for him. And he didn’t send me to do it with a lot of fancy rhetoric of my own, lest the powerful action at the center—Christ on the Cross—be trivialized into mere words.
18-21 The Message that points to Christ on the Cross seems like sheer silliness to those hellbent on destruction, but for those on the way of salvation it makes perfect sense. This is the way God works, and most powerfully as it turns out. It’s written,
I’ll turn conventional wisdom on its head,
I’ll expose so-called experts as shams.
So where can you find someone truly wise, truly educated, truly intelligent in this day and age? Hasn’t God exposed it all as pretentious nonsense? Since the world in all its fancy wisdom never had a clue when it came to knowing God, God in his wisdom took delight in using what the world considered stupid—preaching, of all things!—to bring those who trust him into the way of salvation.
22-25 While Jews clamor for miraculous demonstrations and Greeks go in for philosophical wisdom, we go right on proclaiming Christ, the Crucified. Jews treat this like an anti-miracle—and Greeks pass it off as absurd. But to us who are personally called by God himself—both Jews and Greeks—Christ is God’s ultimate miracle and wisdom all wrapped up in one. Human wisdom is so cheap, so impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God. Human strength can’t begin to compete with God’s “weakness.”
26-31 Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”
WHAT DO WE LEARN?
Lay down all trivial pursuits, all that doesn’t matter and has nothing to do with Jesus saving our souls, His Holy Spirit growing our minds, along with God watching over the honesty and sincerity of our hearts.
“God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”. We were nothing of real value for God’s Kingdom until Jesus gave us significance by the shedding of his blood for our sins. We owe Jesus everything with every part of our lives. Our whole created being belongs to Jesus.
We get all in a tizzy about the stupidest things of this life that have no bearing on our salvation that gives us life forever with you. Help us to see, really see what is going on, realizing who our real enemy is who plays on our selfishness. Then help us to run from the enemy of division to you the completer, the unity of all things good. You are Life. You are Savior and Lord of our lives. The closer we get to you, dear Jesus, the closer we get to each other. We realize the depth of love you have for us also guides the amount of love we give to each other. You love truly is without borders! Lord, help us to love each other the way you love us.
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen!