In Spite of Differences
Day 1: What we believe has the power to both unify and divide us. What we believe about politics, religion, and social issues, both brings us closer to people we agree with and separates us from people we disagree with. It takes just one look at our Facebook feed to know this to be true. Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-31.What happens when Christ followers disagree with one another? Do we “unfriend” them? Do we leave the church? Do we put on fake smiles and pretend to be nice to one another? Does Jesus call us to something better? Take some time to reflect and take an inventory. Are you willing to be in fellowship with people who believe or vote differently than you? Write down your thoughts. Do you think you could walk beside them even while not seeing eye to eye?
Day 2: Read 1 Corinthians 1:10. What does it mean to be a Christian? Is it a combination of Bible knowledge, doing good things, and loving people? Or, is it having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? If it is the later, what does it even mean to have a relationship with Jesus? How can we know a man who lived 2000 years ago? Take a moment and consider: what is the core of your faith? How do you get to know someone? Usually, it requires conversation, listening, finding out who they are, and letting them get to know you. We can’t have a relationship with someone without knowing anything about them. This is why our theology (knowledge of God) matters. It is for this reason that we are united in what we believe. Go to www.lscckc.org/beliefs and read it through. How do these statements strike you? If you agree with them why? If you don’t agree with them, that’s ok. I’d like to invite you on a journey to follow Jesus, to get to know Him, and to explore the tough questions. With whom can you discuss your questions? Are some of your questions answered during Sunday services or in your small group? Regardless of where you are at today, stay in pursuit of the questions you hold today.
Day 3: Yesterday, we took a look at how our beliefs unite us as Jesus’ followers. Today, let’s consider how the things we believe can divide us.Read 1 Corinthians 8:1-3. While knowledge of God is crucial to having a relationshipwith Him, knowledge can also be a pitfall for us. It is so easy for our perceived knowledge of God to, “puff us up.” We can easily think we’ve got things all figured out and that anyone who disagrees with us is either ignorant or stupid. How silly it is that we mere mortals can often be tempted to think that we have the eternal God of the universe all figured out. (Isaiah 55:8-9) God is so vast and beyond our understanding, that a better for us to approach our knowledge of Him with humility and others knowledge of Him with grace. In dealing with differences of theology, could it be that there might be times when God invites us to walk side by side even when we don’t see eye to eye? Is there someone in your life that disagrees with you theologically? Take some time to pray for them or maybe offer to pray with them. Pray also that God would strengthen unity as he continues to reveal Himself to both of you today.
Day 4: Read 1 Corinthians 13. It doesn’t matter how right we are, if we don’t have love, our knowledge is worthless. Our theology is only as good as its ability to help us love well. Right knowledge of God and His word will always lead us to love. Take out a piece of paper and write down these words: impatient, unkind, jealous, boastful, proud, rude, demands its own way, irritable, keeps record of being wronged, rejoices about injustice, gives up, loses faith, and hopeless. This is what our lives look like without love, even if we believe all the right things about God. Love doesn’t demand its own way (v. 5a). Keep this list with you today as a reminder of how desperately we are in need of God’s love in us and through us.
Day 5: Read Colossians 3:12-17. In order for there to be unity in the church, there must first be forgiveness. Is there someone in your life that you need to ask to forgive you? Is there someone in your life that you need to forgive? Take a full five minutes to consider these questions. We, the church, are God’s chosen people, and He declares us holy and dearly loved. Pray that the peace of Christ would rule in our hearts, and that we would be united in the peace and love of Jesus. As you go about your day today, remember that everything you do, you do in the name of the Lord Jesus. Refer back to this statement at the end of the day. How did you represent Jesus today? We are his body and His representatives to the world.