Avoiding Distractions in the Church

Daily Devotional: Day 125

“Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas [Peter],” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Corinthians 1:12-13, NKJV).

Paul played a pioneering role in establishing the church at Corinth. As was his practice, he left the church in charge of capable elders and teachers from the local community. Sometime later, he received disturbing report that the church had been split into at least four factions. There was the pro-Paul Camp, the pro-Apollos Camp, the pro-Peter Camp and the pro-Christ Camp. When Paul received this news, he was deeply grieved. He wrote his First Letter to the Corinthians, in part, to address this unfortunate development in hopes of bringing an end to it.

In addressing the problem, Paul begins by posing the question: “Is Christ divided?” The point he is making is that the church is all about Christ. And Christ is one; He is not divided into camps. Whoever divides Christ into camps is ignorant of Christ and ignorant of what the Church represents. Obviously, the Corinthians were not mindful of the things of God. They saw the church as any other social group that could be divided into factions to advance people’s individual tastes and preferences. The Corinthians also forgot that Christ alone was crucified for them and in Him alone were they baptized. The result is that the attention shifted from Jesus Christ to mere men and useless arguments. This behavior overshadowed the centrality of the Cross of Jesus and of its power.

 Today, we, too, need to be on our guard lest we fall into the same problem the Corinthians faced. When we lose our focus, we may think that the Church exists to cater to our flesh and its lusts. At times, we let our personal preferences and tastes dictate what the Church of Christ should be. One group says it wants ‘traditional’ music; the other group says it prefers something else. Within the same local church, we can create rivalry and competition by comparing one minster to another. Sometimes factions are even created based on ethnicity, race, gender or social status. And there are those who feel they are special because they were baptized or ‘touched’ by their favorite minister. Furthermore, we can idolize ministers or pastors to the point where it results in cult of personality. A similar thing was happening in Corinth, where some said, “I am of Paul,” and others said, “I am of Peter.” When this happens, Christ fades from view, and everything becomes about us.

The truth is, all these things are childish; they are a complete waste of time, and they distract from Christ and the urgency of preaching His Gospel. Let our focus be on glorifying the Name of Christ, for this alone really matters. 

Pray to the Father about what you’ve heard today.

For further study: 1 Corinthians 3:1-23

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