“God is not characterized by disorder but by peace.” (1Corinthians 14:33, NET Bible)
Today’s passage is speaking to the Church. It’s speaking to the necessity of unifying peace in the body. As a teacher and a writer, I have to confess that I am stumped. This seems like a “no-brainer” to me. Of course peace is what the Church needs. Unity is what the Church must have in order to function properly. Does this even need to be said?
But then the devotion writer in me takes over as the Spirit shifts inside my heart and I am reminded of two very important things. The first is that the Church is, indeed, the body of Christ in this world in which we live. Those on the outside looking in see us and they see Jesus. How do you think we are doing? How does He look, do you think? As we gather in groups both large and small and in tiny country churches as well as mega urban churches and every size and denomination in between, do we represent our Savior well? If we are mostly in order without back biting and rumor mongering and our cliques are not impenetrable and mutually exclusive, we are probably showing a good face to the world, I think. If the above examples ring true for our churches though, we are in dire need of some spiritual cleansing.
This then leads me to the second point I am reminded of today. Even though the Church is the body of Christ, it is also a body of believers. That is, it is made up of all of us as individuals who are striving to walk the Way of Christ. This is a wonderful thing, I think. But it also means that each of us has a responsibility to speak and behave in accordance with Christ Jesus and Him crucified.
“If a fire breaks out and spreads to thorn bushes, so that stacked grain or standing grain or the whole field is consumed, the one who started the fire must surely make restitution.” (Exodus 22:6)
Trouble in a church often begins with one person who infects those others (thorn bushes) who are looking for it. These weeds, we fine, are mixed in with all the rest of the churchgoers and the entire field (church becomes consumed in the turmoil. We, as individuals, must be on guard against strife and discord. There will always be disagreements in any group. That is just natural. But, we always need to focus on God and not those things that will lead us away from Him. This is the way a true church operates. If we all focus on God, then even our differences build us all up instead of tear us all down.
Lord Jesus, helps all stay focused on You and Yours. You are, all ways, our source of strength and unity, AMEN.
Watch out for anything that may sow discord into your life today. Such things are not from God.
Christopher Randolph holds a Master of Divinity degree from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. He currently lives with his family in Colorado.