A couple in their late 50s recently decided to divorce, but they both refused to move out of their home. To resolve the impasse, a judge ordered that they halve the urban complex. This included the building of a wall to divide the living room on the first floor and sealing off the door that splits the living space on the second. The husband had construction workers build a spiral staircase, allowing him to get more easily from his living room to his dining room. He’s also made his ex-wife’s life a nightmare by yelling and banging on the walls. They each vow to stay in the house until the other moves out.

What a sad picture of childish and divisive behavior! This is precisely the type of behavior that the apostle Paul had to address with the Corinthian believers. Though the believers in Corinth had received the Holy Spirit and the mind of Christ, these realities didn’t keep them from exhibiting divisive behavior. In fact, they seemed to be in the same place as when Paul left them.

Thus, in 1 Corinthians 3:1, he called them mere infants in Christ because they were unable to move beyond milk (basics of the gospel) to solid food (appropriating the gospel to their present behavior). Their jealousy and quarreling splintered them into unhealthy factions and showed that they were still under the influence of a value system that was opposed to God (1 Corinthians 3:3-4).

As believers in Jesus, we must do more than believe the gospel—we need to apply the gospel to every facet of our lives, including our relationships with one another. When we live out the gospel, we move beyond jealousy, quarrels, and factions and grow toward spiritual maturity.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Mark 10:35-52