For many, myself included, a natural tendency exists to drift towards people who are like us. Not necessarily because of ill will or animosity toward those who are different but for the sake of comfort and familiarity. Do you find this is true about yourself?
Division is easy; unity is hard. Perhaps that is too obvious to state. Even in our churches we can get too focused on our differences rather than our similarities. And this should not be so. God designed His church as a body with different parts working together toward maturity in Christ for her good and God’s glory (Ephesians 4:7-16).
Division is one of the issues Paul heard about from the church in Corinth. So in his letter to them, their division was one of the first issues Paul addressed. Even if he could help resolve their other issues, a divided church would never be healthy and impact the city the way it needed to. According to the report Paul had received, several factions had formed in the church. Some claimed to follow Paul. Others Apollos. Others Peter. And some even claimed to follow Jesus, which wasn’t as good as it sounded. This group was likely just trying to sound more spiritual than the others.
“Is Jesus divided?” Paul asked. “Was it Paul who died on the cross for you? Or were you baptized in Paul’s name?” Of course not! Jesus died on the cross, and the believers were baptized in Jesus’ name. They should come together because of His gospel. Believers all agree that Jesus is Lord, so Paul said they should get along and love one another.
Paul told the Corinthian believers they should not be divided; they should be of one mind because of their shared faith in Jesus. Jesus isn’t divided, and He alone died on the cross for them. Paul’s message was clear: the gospel does not divide believers, it unites them.
We all, even the kids you serve, are experts in finding ways to divide ourselves. Sin and selfishness divide. James reminds us that our fighting and arguments come from the war waged within us which is ultimately pride, but God gives greater grace to those who are humble (James 4:1,6). This means, as Christ followers, we are to submit to God seeking to glorify Him above all else. Jesus and the gospel unite those who are followers of Jesus in community. God designed the church to show what true community among a diverse people looks like. Pray that the message Paul shared with the Corinthian believers takes root in your heart and in the hearts of your kids. Pray that God would break down the barriers we create and bring your kids together as brothers and sisters in Christ. As you plan for your session this week, remember that community is important to God so build in appropriate time for you to build relationships with your kids and for them to build relationships with each other.
Jeremy Carroll (@jermpc) is the team leader for The Gospel Project for Kids. Before coming to LifeWay, he has been active in local church ministry for nearly 20 years in TN, TX, and AL. Jeremy earned a Master of Arts in Christian Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. A Middle Tennessee native, he and his family live in Murfreesboro, TN.