Sadly, in the five decades I’ve been a believer in Jesus, I’ve known of several local churches that have split due to infighting. Leaders fight, and congregation members rally behind their chosen side. Then the feuding leaders prompt their supporters to form splinter congregations.
The church in Corinth was threatened by a partisan spirit (1 Corinthians 1:12). Addressing the feuding parties as “dear brothers and sisters,” Paul reminded them that they weren’t members of an organization, but family members (1 Corinthians 1:10). Paul didn’t use his authority as their founding pastor to demand compliance. Instead, in making his appeal “by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ,” he reminded them that the church belongs to Jesus, not human leaders (1 Corinthians 1:9-13; Romans 14:8-9). On the basis of loyalty to Jesus and love for the family of believers, Paul appealed to the quarreling parties to “live in harmony with each other. . . . [To] be of one mind, united in thought and purpose” (1 Corinthians 1:10).
Quarrels often arise because leaders have conflicting convictions and priorities. But Paul reminds us to keep the focus on our overarching conviction and commission. We’re to be a part of the kingdom God is building, not our own version of it. There’s only one Savior, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the sins of the world (1 Corinthians 1:13). And we have one priority: “To preach the Good News” (1 Corinthians 1:17).
In addressing disharmony, keep your focus on Jesus, the only Savior and perfect leader of the church (Acts 2:36). Only He deserves our unquestioned allegiance and devotion (Colossians 1:18-20). By God’s power and strength, may “we preach Christ crucified!” (1 Corinthians 1:23 niv).
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Daniel 1:1-21
Read Philippians 4:2-5 to see how Paul encouraged two feuding leaders to settle their disagreement.
What can you do to promote unity and harmony in the church? What things should you avoid because they threaten the church’s unity and peace?