Wednesday, May 23, 2007

When Problems Arise

Devotions for May 23, 2007

Proverbs 23
1 Corinthians 6

"You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Corinthians 6:11)

Paul jumps from disunity right into the belly of lawsuits among believers. Obviously there were a bunch of lawsuits being brought against fellow followers of Jesus. I love how Paul asks how believers can ask unbelievers in Jesus to make judgments about their disputes. How can followers of Jesus expect those outside the faith to have the same biblical worldview? He says we can't expect that, so don't take your disputes there. In fact, if you truly are a believer and you are arguing with another believer then the power of the Holy Spirit should allow you to reconcile your differences.

Paul gives us a list of immoral behaviors that are unacceptable. But he also reminds us that all sin is equal and this list of higher profile sins should not be called out with any more fervency than any other sin. We are all sinners. We have all come from the same beginning. But as followers of Jesus we have been washed in the blood of the sacrificial lamb of God who took away the sins of the world. We should live into that redemption.

However, just because Jesus died for our sins doesn't mean that you can do anything you want. The freedom that Jesus brought was to bring us to true life based on the character of Jesus not the character of sin. The sins that Paul listed are flesh oriented. So he reminds us that our bodies are not our own, they are the temple of God. I love the analogy of the end result of what is really happening when someone has sex with a prostitute. It's not just an act of the body, but of the soul as well. When we choose to live outside God's design with our actions, it also has ramifications on our souls. Jesus died to set us free from this kind of living.

I know we want to categorize sin. We have our top ten list of the worst sins. And yet, we choose to turn a blind eye to other "lessor" sins like over-eating, greed, and self-centeredness. I don't know how that happened, but it has the same affect on the bride of Christ as a groom sleeping with a prostitute on his wedding night. It all breaks God's heart and it separates us from him.

I need to work on my interaction with fellow followers of Jesus who I disagree with. I need to man up and put on the love of Jesus and go to the person I am in disagreement with and have the character of Jesus as I interact with that person. I have a very strong anger streak that I hate. It often keeps me from doing what I need to do to be in community with others. However, I want to be a witness to this region that the love of Jesus compels me to be in unity with others, no matter how difficult that may be, so that we can be one together with Christ.

O God, I confess that I fall very short of your desire for me to live into the character of Jesus. I categorize sin and often times don't even know it. I am a sinner in need of grace and forgiveness. Help me to look at every person I meet as a child of God who is no different than me.

I pray that when disputes happen in the relationship between people at Charter Oak Church that they will put on humility and grace. I pray that they will seek reconciliation as quickly as possible. I pray that our congregation will be known for their love for those outside our walls. I pray that we will be known for what we stand for than what we stand against. I pray we will remember that we have been justified and sanctified in the name of Jesus Christ by the Spirit of our God.


Roda Zone said...

Thanks for your thoughts on sin. As far as anger goes I have that same streak. I find myself stuck in anger often, and try to surrender that to the power of God. I know I still have a long way to go. Thanks for the meditation.