Devotional/Reflection: I recently saw a picture of a fight between two professional baseball players, Bryce Harper and Jonathan Papelbon. Unlike many baseball fights, this was not between members of opposing teams; rather, these two were on the same team. One guy was pitching poorly but trying hard (or so it seemed); the other guy was playing amazingly well but not giving his best effort at all times (again, so it seemed). The fight was merely a visible example of the disunity that was already suspected from this team since they were underachieving based on “experts’” expectations for what they should be doing. Too often in the church, we fight amongst ourselves and manifest to the world visibly the disunity within the church. There are a number of reasons for disunity, none of which are good, and Paul addresses three of the problems with the Corinthian church that led to their disunity. They had a focal problem, a faction problem, and a foolishness problem. These three problems manifested the larger problem–although spiritual people in Christ, they were living like fleshly people. Rather than focusing on Christ, they were focusing on Paul or Apollos (cf. 1 Cor 1:10-17); rather than unity, they were dividing into factions; rather than being wise, they were acting like fools. Paul’s answer, and the answer for us today, was rather to be spiritual people, by which he means those who have the mind of God as revealed in Scripture and who are under the control and direction of the Holy Spirit. We need to focus on Christ, seek unity, be peacemakers, and seek the mind of God which is true wisdom.
- What are some things that lead you to lose proper focus? What helps to get you back into the right focus?
- Have you ever experienced a situation where someone was a peacemaker? What did they do that was effective?
- Have you ever been part of a team, group, or church that was divisive rather than unified? What was the problem? How did you resolve it? How might this text help you better resolve similar situations in the future?
Scripture Memory: “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”–1 Corinthians 3:16-17