2 Samuel 4:1-6:23
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Focus Verses: Romans 16:17-18
urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put
obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have
learned. Keep away from them. 18 For
such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites.
By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.
among Christians is threatened by those who confuse the clear teachings
of scripture with their own opinions, agendas, or selfish interests.
These create obstacles to unity. Christians must be on guard against
conflicts and circumspect about the people who start them.
Response and Action:
need to watch out for people and influences that would damage Christian
community. Are problems arising out of selfish motives? Are opinions
and issues raised contrary to scriptural teaching and precedent? I must
be careful to recognize deception and manipulation, and discern when
people are putting their own interests over the interests of others and
of Christ. I must also guard against self-centeredness.
and studying the Scriptures will help me recognize the things that run
contrary to the truth. I will take time for prayer and Bible reading
every day in order to learn what Christ and the apostles have taught. I
will strive to be humble and selfless and carefully examine my own
actions and motives.
God, help me to recognize those things that are divisive—opinions,
arguments, lies, pride, manipulation, and selfishness. Help me to know
your word, to live by it, and to bring people together through it. Help
us all to turn away from selfish impulses and instead be filled with the
desire to serve and honor you. Amen.
Spiritual Formation Verses: Philippians 2:1-3
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any
comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any
tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being
like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3 Do
nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility
consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not
only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Antagonists in the Church: How to Identify and Deal With Destructive Conflict
Kenneth C. Haugk