Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Lenten Devotion

This post is an adaptation of a Lenten devotion I wrote for a book distributed by my church for this Lenten season.  Click here to access the entire book of devotions.

Take a moment to read 1 Corinthians 1:1-9.
The words that Paul writes here to the church in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 1:1-19 could easily have been written to my own twenty-first century congregation, or any of the worshiping groups in our suburban community.  We have been so enriched by God, in our speaking and our knowledge.  Many who look at our lives could say that the testimony of those who have shared the Good News of God has been confirmed in our lives.  God has given us His grace in Christ Jesus; He has provided us with a multitude of spiritual gifts; and He has called us into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ (v. 5-9).
But the similarity doesn’t stop there.  Paul calls on the church in Corinth to be “perfectly united in mind and thought,” without divisions that might lead one person to say, “I follow Paul,” while another says, “I follow Apollos,” and still others say, “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Jesus”(v. 10-12).  Who are we as Christians?  Is our faith grounded in the pastor we prefer, the sections of the Bible that most appeal to us, the style of music we enjoy during our church service? 
We are brothers and sisters in Christ, members of His body, and Christ is not divided.  Christ was born for us, He died for us, and He rose again for us for the forgiveness of our sins.  On that we can stand united!
During this Lenten season, instead of giving up coffee, or chocolate, or Facebook, why not give up divisiveness, dwelling in the past at the expense of the future, dwelling on the temporal at the expense of the eternal?  It may prove harder to do than staying off Facebook, but it may also prove more effective for focusing our hearts on our shared need for repentance and forgiveness. 
Consider praying this prayer as you focus your heart on Christ’s great sacrifice for us:
Heavenly Father, help us to focus our hearts and our minds on You during this Lenten season.  Forgive us and free us from the spirit of division, and help us to worship together as sons and daughters, united in our faith, love, and hope in You.

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