Joshua 7-9; 1 Corinthians 1
You're not going to agree with everyone you run into at church. (gasp*) We are all human, with different opinions, backgrounds, passions, etc. We just need to learn to use our differences to create a well-rounded body of Christ to reach people in different ways, but facing the same direction. As a Church, however, we need to keep the bottom line the bottom line. Today, we'll see how disunity and a self-serving attitude can really affect more than just you.
The battle against Ai should have been an easy one. Even the scouts said not to send all of their people to defeat them, as it wouldn't take any ore than 2,000-3,000 people. However, the Israelites were soundly defeated by Ai. Joshua cried out to God, knowing that this defeat would spread a horrible reputation to the other nations they needed to defeat. However, it wasn't long until Joshua was notified that one of their own had already disobeyed the covenant made with God.
Achan completely underestimated the importance of obeying the Lord. What he viewed as something small and self-serving, turned into a huge issue and affected his entire nation, and more so, his family. When we acquire a self-serving attitude, we create disunity, whether we mean to or not. Because of Achan's disobedience, it fell on all the people. As a result, he, his family, and 36 others were put to death. Keep your selfishness in check. You may think it only affects you, but in the long run it affects people around you too. A self-serving attitude in the church can be completely toxic and cause discord. Don't be that servant. Be God's humble servant that listens to His voice and heeds it wisely.
As a result of banishing the evil from the nation, Israel returns and easily defeats Ai. Joshua could have easily taken the credit for keeping the nation pure, but we read that he built an alter to God after defeating Ai. Give God complete glory when you succeed in purging evil from your life. He is the One that does it. The Gibeonites became servants as a result of their deception, however, they became servants for the Lord. They in the end were unified with the Israelites, but had a more humble role, whether the Israelite people liked it or not. Even if you have sinned and been deceptive, God can still use you in the family of Christ. Be unified with them and find your purpose.
Paul was speaking out to a church that was in desperate need of unity among its people in Corinth. There was discord among them over who their leader was, and Paul writes, reminding them that we are all in nee of grace and we are unified as one under the family of Christ. We can argue about so many things within a church, yet forget we have all been redeemed and bought by grace in Jesus' blood. We need to remember that God uses things that seem foolish to shame those who think they are wise and vise versa. He sees the bigger picture, and we can fight over things that are not pertinent to the Kingdom.
Disunity within the church, if unhealthy, can be very damaging to folks looking in from the outside. The church is to be a safe place for those seeking what they need in the midst of their own hardships, battles, sin, etc. Unhealthy conflict is a killer for your church. There can be healthy conflict, however, that discusses, listens, understands, and humbles itself, remembering that we are all sinners in need of grace, no matter what our status or leadership role is. Be careful how you handle disunity, and strive to work as one body in the direction of Christ.
Since the beginning of human kind, there has been conflict and disunity. We all have an opinion, a passion, a gift, and a cause. When it all boils down, however, it is important to remember that we are all in need of grace and we can be humble people in the midst of disunity. There is no reason to shake a fist or demand one's way when we have God's Word right in front of us and remember He loves each of us. He has gifted each of us to move as one body in His direction. Respect each others' gifts and opinions, but be careful to stay the course of your marching orders, rather than fight for the battles out of the way.