DAY 6 – The Usefulness of Division | Firm Foundation Devotional

Friday, November 06, 2020 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

1 Corinthians 11:18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval.

It is counterintuitive for us to think there is any purpose for division. We hear complaints about division and pleas for unity. The following Tweet came across my feed from a prominent evangelical whom I follow and respect:

"A divided country needs a united church."

He posted this in the wake of allowing others to present their arguments for voting for Donald Trump or Joe Biden. His post may have been intended to follow that free-for-all to state how a unified church can help heal divisions in our nation. Many responses to his post highlighted a more important core reality:

"The country is divided because the church helped elect a Divider–In–Chief."

"Can't have a united church, when half of its leaders cravenly support corruption and immorality in pursuit of their policy lust."

(My response) "True, but unfortunately, some of the division in our nation is BECAUSE of the church."

So we are divided in BOTH the nation AND the church. However, it is not the major problem that many seem to believe it is. Division is a way towards a solution when we process it from a Biblical justice/righteousness perspective. Division can be productive. Divisiveness is always counterproductive – that's what we want to avoid.

The Apostle Paul addressed division in the church at Corinth. Suffice it to say, the Corinthian believers had "issues." Paul didn't call for an end to division. He actually said that division served a purpose. He wrote, "No doubt there have to be differences."

Divisions/differences come from a clash of ideas, beliefs, and motivations. The great fault of those who always insist on "unity" is making conformity and silence the standard. Being outspoken is considered culturally unacceptable. So people learn to stay quiet, contradict their conscience, keep strongly felt points of view to themselves, and may ultimately become disingenuous or manipulative, to avoid coming out of the shadow of "acceptance."

Sharing points of view or disagreeing with others, can "feel like" division. At that point, those who are emotionally fragile retreat to a call for "unity" or go silent to avoid feeling uncomfortable. (For some, COMFORT is job #1). The Apostle Paul stated that the purpose of division was: "...To show which of you have God’s approval."

God's approval often comes through process and conflict. When we engage in a spirit of love and God's righteousness, we always come to a place of seeing what and who is "approved." Sometimes the loudest person seems correct in the beginning. If we stay engaged, the Lord will show His wisdom and approval.  This happened at the Counsel of Jerusalem when the Apostle James spoke up after a season of division/difference on some church matters. (Acts 15:1-21)

I've had many occasions of sharing my points of view, then being shown a "more perfect way" or having to admit that I was wrong. At first, it is a hard pill to swallow, but it is something with which one becomes comfortable. This leads to a willingness to engage with others in the hopes of being helped, and sometimes helping others.  If we avoid all division, we will never find unity of purpose (there is never unity of thought.)

Reflection Question: What are examples of how "division" has been productive in your life?

My Action Item(s) Based on Understanding:


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