4 Minute Read + Scripture readings
TODAY’S BIBLE READING:
1 Corinthians 11:17-34
TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
1 Corinthians 11:19 (CSB) “Indeed, it is necessary that there be factions among you, so that those who are approved may be recognized among you.”
REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
The first century church at Corinth was a church with a lot of problems – like so many churches around us today. Instead of the church influencing the culture, the culture had definitely influenced the church. Instead of the church going into the world, the world had come into the church.
So the letters to Corinth are so beneficial to contemporary Christians because, if we are humbly honest, it addresses many of the problems and sins that are within us and around us today.
One problem in the church at Corinth was division. It was a church with cliques. The church members would try to outdo each other by bragging about who their mentor was (1 Corinthians 1:11-13). Further, they were divided along socio-economic lines (see 1 Corinthians 11:21 where some ate and others went hungry).
And then we see our Verse for Today tucked in the mix. We are left to wonder: “What does it mean? What is God saying in this verse?”
1 Corinthians 11:19 (CSB): “Indeed, it is necessary that there be factions among you, so that those who are approved may be recognized among you.”
Under the direction of the Holy Spirit, Paul is saying that even though division in the church is bad, God uses it for good. When quarreling and fighting and division abound, it allows us to see how each person is responding (or participating) in the disunity.
Simply put, someone living out of fellowship with God will find it easier to disagree and be disagreeable, to say hurtful things they shouldn’t say or spread malicious gossip, to hold onto hurts and refuse to forgive, or even say things (or do things) that are directly contrary to what the Bible teaches.
A Christian in fellowship with God will respond very differently. After all, Jesus has called us to a much higher standard.
Matthew 5:44-47 (NLT): “But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.”
Please note that our Verse for Today does not say that people who misbehave in times of conflict are lost. It simply states that conflict allows us to see, among those who claim to be saved, which ones are in fellowship with God (“approved” by God).
So, how do you typically respond in times of conflict, friend? Do you gossip? Do you say hurtful things? Do you fan the controversy into a bigger flame? Do you find it difficult, if not impossible to forgive?
If so, confess such responses as sin. Then, ask the Lord to do a work in your heart to enable you to behave in a way that shows that you are not only saved but in fellowship with God.
After all, while you may say that you are far along on your journey to Christlikeness, it is really in the times of difficulty when you get squeezed that people really get to see what’s inside you.