Friday, July 17, 2009

Devotional - Of Divisions and Immaturity

Good morning my fellow believers. I hope you are looking forward to this day as much as I am. We are continuing with 1 Corinthians 11.

Paul had to deal with yet another problem in the church of Corinth:

In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God's approval. When you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. vv. 18-21

It is believed that the early church was comprised of many smaller groups that met together throughout the week. Then on occasions the groups would come together and were considered the church of Corinth. Obviously what Paul has written here many of the leaders and people did not have the necessary maturity.

Setting aside their disrespect of the Lord's Supper I want to consider their divisions for a moment. Where does it come from? It permeates the present day Church and causes a weak and disjointed witness to the world. Division comes from a selfish attitude that arises from immaturity in the Spirit. This immaturity happens due to lack of spiritual growth. If we are not growing then we are decreasing in our relationship with Christ which means our old nature starts taking root again and becomes a huge problem among the believers. Get a few people like this and we have a big problem on our hands.

We understand that we are all at different places in our maturity and this we have been instructed to handle by tolerating and watching out for those who have less maturity. But this is assuming that everyone is still progressing in their growth. We cannot afford to have believers who are refusing to grow. The Body needs to encourage everyone to keep pushing on for the sake of the growth of the Body.

Paul encourages self-inspection:

But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. v. 31

This can be a dangerous exercise if not done with the right attitude. We want to judge ourselves to discover our weaknesses so we can submit those areas to the Lord. We do not want to judge ourselves to have some kind of pity party and slip into depression. We need to start with the premise that we are pretty messed up and we need the Lord's help in everything in order to grow. Self inspection allows us to work on one area at a time. None of us are worthy of his attention or his love. We are not to judge ourselves against other believers but against our Lord Jesus Christ. Judging ourselves against others will give us a distorted view of ourselves. Only Jesus serves as a proper measuring rod. And when we need some extra discipline with certain things in our life we should be positive about it:

When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world. v. 32

Paul is speaking of the correction we sometimes must undergo so that we can continue in our growth. Paul said to never despise this correction because it assures us that we are loved.

None of us should be coasting along, we should all be challenging ourselves to grow in our weaknesses. We need to reflect on our actions and correct them when we are wrong. Repentance and forgiveness should be free flowing in the Church. And when the Lord does need to correct we should be glad for it. Let us not hide who we are or how weak we are. Let us not try to hide our sins and mess ups. Let's deal with this stuff so we do not end up with a poor witness to the world.

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