“One of these days, Alice… one of these days! Pow!!! Right up side the old kisser! Bang, Zoom …straight to the moon!”
No, this isn’t a scene from the Kramden residence. Ralph and Alice aren’t at it again. Instead, the words are coming from inside the walls of the local church up the street from your home. What’s the topic of conversation that’s putting off much more heat than light? Some wanted green carpet, but the church went with blue. Lets get ready to rumble!
Ever endured the challenges of a good fallout amongst the brethren? If so, then you’re aware of the lasting repercussions, embarrassment before the world, and even worse… the demeaning testimony to the power of the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ.
What on earth could cause so much contention as to lead one believer in Jesus Christ to be at odds with another? James once asked this same question. He inquired, “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you (James 4:1)?”
He doesn’t wait for responses from the audience, but assigns the root cause of all contention as our desire for self-pleasure. He says that our lustful and envious hearts will always find something to argue about.
Paul said we might want to watch out when entering the arena of a self-serving heart. Soon to follow the biting and devouring is the consuming (Galatians 5:15). Just consider that rib eye from last night’s dinner… first you bit, then devoured, and presto… it was consumed.
When he counseled Timothy in his second letter to him, he gave him a handy checklist to recognize the coming of difficult times (2 Timothy 3:1-5). Snugly resting in that list is the admonition to be on guard regarding our tendency to be a people with little self-control.
So what’s the answer? How do we live among one another with all of our differences in taste and diverse lifestyles?
Is it possible that we think a little too highly of ourselves? Do we find ourselves much more concerned for our own well-being than the welfare of others? Just a thought… when your new phonebook arrives, whose is the first name you look for?
When Paul wrote to the Philippian church, he addressed this problem by identifying with the mindset of Jesus. He said we should do everything with a sense of humility, regarding others’ interests as more important than our own. Remember… isn’t that what Jesus did on our behalf?
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2: 5-8).”
Do we love our neighbors more than we love our disagreements with them?
- Philippians (tylersheart.wordpress.com)
- The Path to “Shalom”: Philippians 4:6-7 (ptl2010.com)
- 5. The Power of Joy In The Prison Of Pain in Philippians (part4) Prayers Purpose Philippians 1:5 (stevemidkiff.wordpress.com)
- Visual Theology – One Another (challies.com)