Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Watch Out for Divisiveness

Today's Reading:
2 Samuel 4:1-6:23
Romans 16:10-27
Psalm 83:1-18
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Focus Verses: Romans 16:17-18
17 I 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.


Fellowship 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:
I 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.

Reading 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.

O 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
1 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

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