Chapter 3: Coming Together as Adults with one mind to work the works of God;
Or standing apart like children wanting their own way;
“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men,
but as to men of flesh,
as to babes in Christ.”
“You’re a baby.” My brother’s insult lit a fire in my tongue. More taunts and name calling threw kindling on my fire. The crackling between us grew louder. Then came the water to quench the flames.
“Would you two stop the arguing!” My mom’s frustration drowned the flames but left the coals smoldering as she lectured. “You know, my mom would make my brother and me sit across from each other until we would each say, ‘Sorry’ and give each other a hug.”
My brother’s mouth twisted to one side as he tried to hide a smile. My eyes nearly bugged out of their sockets. No way would I give him a hug.
“We will quit arguing, Mom. I promise.”
Mom would shake her head, make us go outside, and promise not to hurt each other – until the next time the fire would blaze. Which would be the next time we were in close proximity and Dad wasn’t at home.
Paul had much the same problem with the Corinthian believers who were behaving like babies. They refused to act like the spiritual adults in Christ they were supposed to be. Instead jealousy and strife fueled a fire among the church dividing the body of Christ into factions. In chapter one he addressed their divisions caused by the arguing going on. It had to stop or the church would lose its influence on those living in the world, and stunt the growth of the church.
There really is nothing new under the sun. The body of Christ is suffering, more than I have known in my lifetime, at the hands of those who claim the name of Christ and walk like the world toward their own brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s time we put away the arguing and fussing and remember what brings us together.
Paul told the Romans in 12:5-
“so, we, who are many, are one body in Christ,
and individually members one of another.”
And John, the beloved disciple, went so far as to write by God’s inspiration,
“If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother,
he is a liar;
for one who does not love his brother whom he has seen,
cannot love God whom he has not seen.
And this commandment we have from Him,
that the one who loves God
should love his brother also.”
Brother in these verses doesn’t mean just the guys. It is biblical language that includes all who are in the body of Christ. All who belong to Christ are members one of another. As Paul wrote in 1Corinthians 12, not one of us can say, “I don’t like how my ear hears, so I’m not going to share what I as the eye see.” (my paraphrase) Bottom line – we need each other.
I don’t believe any of us would take and physically harm another who sits with us in church. Nor would we intentionally dismember ourselves. But that is exactly what we are doing to the body of Christ when we allow arguing, jealousy, and divisions among us. We are tearing apart Christ’s body. This should not be. Let’s remember who we are. We are Christ’s body. He is our head. We are his building, his temple, which is holy. Do you want to see the glory of the Lord reign in his body? He must reign in each member. It’s time to grow up in the Lord.
By the way, my brother and I are closer today than I could have ever believed possible as a child. I even like giving him hugs. I guess we’ve grown up.
For Thought: How can you bring unity to the body of Christ?
Today’s Reading: Ephesians 4:11-16; Take a moment to list what these verses say about Christ and his relationship to his body. What is Christ’s goal for his body? How are you reaching for the goal?
A Prayer for Us: Father, you have given us all we need to become all you have designed us to be – strong, healthy, loving members of Christ’s body. Forgive our pettiness and help us walk in love one to another.