January 12 I Sunday
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” —1 Corinthians 13:4
The opening verse of this devotion comes from the Bible’s classic chapter on love in 1 Corinthians 13. It was written to the church in Corinth because Paul had heard of different beliefs and practices taking place that were contrary to Christ-likeness and Christ’s teaching. He saw that the church in Corinth was very much in need of love and extending love.
But the biggest problem was the division within the Corinthian church. Paul had heard of considerable quarreling among them as he writes, “What I mean is this: one of you says, ‘I follow Paul’; another, ‘I follow Apollos’; another, ‘I follow Cephas’; still another, ‘I follow Christ.’ Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptised in the name of Paul?” (1 Corinthians
1:12-13). In other words, Paul is saying that they have aligned themselves with different personalities and leaders, which will always cause division.
A church is defined by the centrality of Jesus Christ alone. This involves seeking and following God’s agenda in dependence upon the Holy Spirit. Paul says, “When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” This is what brought the Corinthian church into being, not Paul’s persuasive rhetoric, but the power of God. In fact, Paul continues, “I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).
In our present day, we may talk about different churches we like or dislike because of the preacher, the music, the décor, the programs, the facilities or the people, but the all-important question should be, Is Jesus Christ central to this church? The church in Corinth lost that and became more concerned with personalities and style. Yet, anything other than Christ that becomes the criteria always divides because it simply leaves one’s opinion against another.
In whatever way we analyse Paul’s teaching, he is always talking about Christ and what it means to be reconciled to Him. He did not preach on how to be happy, but on the power of the resurrected life of Christ indwelling us.
Jesus Christ is central to the Bible, the Gospel, His church and His teachings. If we are to experience the power of Jesus’s resurrected life in us, then we must make Him central to our lives.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, in every aspect of my life, I pray that You be my focal point, so that the centrality of my life is not only fixed on You, but it derives from You too. Thank You, Lord.
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