“For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not mere human beings? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed. Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who makes things grow…..By the grace God has given me, I had laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
Aren’t we like these early Christians who were quarreling over who had the right beliefs? Now we have denominations which quarrel or claim that only they have the right beliefs. Doesn’t this put us right in the world and not in the kingdom of God? Why would we quarrel anyway, if we each have the relationship with Jesus Christ that we claim? Isn’t Christ the one who informs us, or are we just so caught up in our own and our denomination’s interpretation that we miss the greater message that Jesus brought to us in the Bible and continues to bring to us in our lives, as the “still, small voice” of God?
Why do we depend so much on our denomination’s ways and not on an active and deep relationship to Jesus? Who is our loyalty to? To world as represented by our church or to Jesus Christ? Haven’t we gone far afield of Jesus’ message? What is the truth of our relationship to Jesus? Is my life ruled by Him or by the church?
If we are arguing and quarrelsome, if we are jealous and judgmental, defensive and protected, aren’t we off-message? If we’re not for the poor and rejected of our day, are we emulating Jesus who hung out with and helped the rejected, the lame, the sick and more? Even the tax collectors whom everyone hated? Are we the ones who are throwing the stones because we think we are without sin? Don’t we devalue other denominations because we think we know better than they?
What is most important in our lives as Christians? Is it the teachings of Jesus? Is it the relationship with Jesus Christ in that we do exactly what He asks of us? Or are we the ones who can’t hear and see what He is saying because we are so stuck in our own opinions?
So much of what we Christians espouse is a watered-down version of the Gospel. So much of what we believe is off-message. When will we go back to the source, the only source of all wisdom and blessings and grace? When will we quiet our own very worldly minds so that we can hear Jesus’ wisdom for us today, in this minute and the next? When will we put Him first in our lives and the church we belong to second? When will we take up our own cross and live the life that God designed us to live, in the sole companionship of the One who knows us and loves us and forgives us, who wants us to be His own, living in this world, but not of the world? If Jesus Christ is the central figure in Christianity, why do our lives not resemble His?
Do you know your purpose, given to you by God, or are you letting other people define who you are? Do you obey all of God’s suggestions to you? Do you allow Him to heal all your challenges? Do you allow Him to accompany you throughout your days? At home and at work? with your family and friends? In your leisure time? when you sleep and awaken? On a scale of 1 to 100, how much would you truthfully say that God accompanies you daily, as you invite Him into your life?
It’s not enough to believe in Christ and God and the Holy Spirit. We have to live those beliefs, to express them in everything we do. In how we handle our challenges. In how we deal with all other people. In our work and play. We are to bring our whole selves to Him—heart, mind, soul and strength(body).
All that lives in us must be dedicated to God. Here is how we can judge our dedication to God: in how love our neighbors/enemies/fellow human beings. The first requirement is that we love God. And if we can accept God’s love and forgiveness for our own flawed selves, then surely, we can love all others and forgive them, too.
We will not resemble the body of Christ until we can love everyone else, too, regardless of their beliefs and their sin. Until we can forgive them. And that depends on us loving ourselves first: “as you love yourself.” For we cannot give out what we have not taken in. And this is the biggest challenge: to feel God’s love for us in every bone in our bodies. And then when His love is flowing into us, it will flow right out again to the person we are with and others around us. For love knows no bounds. It cannot be contained and packaged, it has to keep on moving. It has to keep on creating. It has to be free, not held onto, not for serving anyone person’s needs. It is meant to just keep on going, touching every person in its path, filling their needs as well, touching their deepest desires and activating that longing for our own true home in those who are touched.
Questions to ponder over the week: Am I loyal only to Jesus? To God? Or am I more loyal to my church than to God? Can I hear and heed what the Indwelling Spirit of God is saying to me? Do I live my life in prayer with and in partnership to Christ? How would I begin to do that? What might I have to take on as a practice in order to do this?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who are loyal to Him above all else. May we live our beliefs in everything that we do. May others see the love of God expressed by us.
–I am collecting conversion stories—How did it happen to you to give your life over to Christ? And what was that like? If you’d like to contribute yours, please click Message in the Comments, to add yours. I will not be using your name, only initials. I am not yet sure of what purpose I am collecting these for—my blog or another book, but I am always inspired like this for a purpose. Thank you so much in advance for joining in this project. Pat
–An Invitation to All of Us to Pray for our nation: for mercy and compassion for all, for community values and a deep sense of caring for each other. For peace. For love to reign. For a return to the love of God. For us to have one nation under God” as our motto again. If many of us would pray these things for our country, we could change the world. Invite your friends and neighbors to pray with us. in love and faith, Pat
Check out the archives for my blog on this page. They are organized by date and by topic.
 1 Corinthians 3:3-11
 1 Kings 19:12
 John 8:7
 Matthew 22:34-40, Mark 12:28-34, Luke 10:25-28