For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you to be not what I wish and may be found by you to be not what you wish; that perhaps there will be strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, disturbances;
Insights: If there was ever a dysfunctional church, it was the church of Corinth. At this point in the churches history, Paul is telling them he is on his way for a visit and when he arrives they may not like the way he addresses them. Their focus had become so earth bound that they were a church full of strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, and disturbances. Basically, in a modern day context, they were burning up the phone lines, facebook accounts and holding secret meetings in order to get their way. Ironically, those performing such tasks often feel they are the defenders of the faith, but the problem results in the church focusing on all of this carnality and then the church is not able to function in a healthy manner. How would you like to wake up on a Sunday morning and worry about what strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, and disturbances were going to happen at church that day? Is it truly possible to even worship God in an environment like this one Paul is describing? The answer is no and it is for that reason he tells them they are not going to like the way he arrives, because a rebuke is coming. This entire week has been daily devotionals expressing different areas in which conflict occur in a local church. Today’s verses really get to the heart of the issue because these attributes are really the fruit of a murmuring people. I would encourage you to read Numbers 16:1-33 and see how seriously God takes murmurings and divisions. What ought we to do about such conflict within a church. The answer is three-fold. First, our focus has got to change. We need to seek God first. He is our audience of One and must be the One we are attempting to please. Second, we must stop the murmurings within a church that cause divisions. Fussing and fuming does not honor God and it distracts the body from the worship of Him, the true Emperor of all creation. Third, we must start praying for revival to fall on the church. Only God can bring true healing and health to a body of believers. Beloved, are you willing to do these three things?
- Do your conversations divide the church?
- Do you see yourself as the righteous defender of the faith?
Prayer: Father, forgive me when I feel the superior weight of Your righteous vindicator. You along are God and I am not. Help my heart to rest in You and trust You for Your will and grace. May my life help bring unity and not division. Amen.