8 Minute Read

Be Still

To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.

Today’s Bible Reading:

Esther 1:1–3:15
1 Corinthians 11:17-34
Psalm 35:17-28
Proverbs 21:19-20

Listen to the Lord

Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.

1 Corinthians 11:19 (NLT): “But, of course, there must be divisions among you so that you who have God’s approval will be recognized!”

Reflections from Scripture:

The first-century church at Corinth was a church with many 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 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 selfishly ate up all the food and others went hungry).

And then we see 1 Corinthians 11:19 tucked in the mix. We are left to wonder: “What does it mean? What is God saying in this verse?”

1 Corinthians 11:19 (NLT): “But, of course, there must be divisions among you so that you who have God’s approval will be recognized!”

Essentially, the Lord is saying that even though division in the church is wrong, God uses it for good. When quarreling, fighting, and division abound, it allows onlookers 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. They will much more easily say hurtful things they shouldn’t say or spread malicious gossip. They might even hold onto hurts and refuse to forgive. 

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 necessarily unbelievers. It simply states that conflict allows us to see, among those who claim to be saved, which 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 find it difficult, if not impossible to forgive? Do you refuse to pray for God to help the one who has hurt you?

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.

Spend Time in Prayer

Lord Jesus, I don’t simply want to know that I’m on my way to Heaven – I also want to enjoy the journey. A large part of the happiness to be found in the journey is fellowship with You. So help me, Lord, to continually cultivate a soul-satisfying relationship with You and then to see how Your favor upon me helps me to respond much more positively in times of conflict. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.

Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Nikola Johnny Mirkovic on Unsplash