10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”—1 Cor. 1:10-12 (NIV)
The only way the church at Corinth or any church can be in unity is through the leadership of the Holy Spirit. As long as we follow after fleshly desires, we will each have our own opinion about every little thing. The world sees these things going on in the church and wonders, rightly, what we have that they don’t have. Before two or three people or a group of any size can be united, each individual has to be willing to give up their “rights”. When we go to church or to any group for that matter, we need to leave our egos at the door. As Christians, we do not receive a “bill of rights”. Our leader, Jesus Christ, modeled an attitude of service and good works. If our focus is on what Jesus wants and not what our flesh wants, we will be united in our worship and our service to the community. If we set this example, the world will want what we have.
28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”—Matt. 20:28 (NIV)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Psalm 25:1-7 NLT When we accept Jesus as our Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to abide within our hearts and minds. God has sent Him to be our guide and our teacher. If we are sincere about our repentance and listen to His teachings, we will soon discover that Jesus wants to be not only our Savior, but also our Lord. If we are going to allow Jesus to be Lord of our lives, there will have to be some changes made. We are becoming new creatures and that requires tearing down the old. We have new hearts inhabited by a new master. He also wants to renew our minds. Jesus, better than anyone, understands that the true battlefield is the mind. It is where our thoughts and ideas originate. We have to learn to control our thoughts and imaginations and bring them all into the obedience of Christ Jesus. Once our thought patterns change, our words and actions will change and our words and actions will let those around know which God we serve.
6 “With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” 8 He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:6-8 (NRSV)
These three requirements seem fairly simple. When we read them, we probably think that we already do these. And perhaps, to some extent, we do. Justice and kindness are things that we do naturally, right? What about the thoughts and the words that we speak when others are not around, are they just and kind? When someone wrongs you, are your thoughts of mercy or revenge? When you see others being mistreated, are you willing to get involved, regardless of the personal cost (Think of the Good Samaritan)? Walk humbly is the really tough one. Are we humble enough to give of our resources, of ourselves, of our abundance and of our time to help others? Even to the point of dying for them? And, if we do these things, are they to show others how righteous we are? Every good gift comes down from the Father above. When we share those gifts with others, we are laying up rewards in heaven. Walk humbly with our God? Help me, Jesus!
6 Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; 7 let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:6,7 (NSRV)
How can we change our ways (actions)? By changing our thoughts and thought patterns. How do we do that? Truth is, we can’t, we have to seek the Lord and allow His Holy Spirit to do that work in us. That means we have to forsake or change our way of thinking about things. Changing our thought patterns requires us to change our focus. It requires us to ask ourselves this question: What is really important to me? God or self? We know the right answer, but we often choose the wrong answer. When we fail, we “seek the Lord”, which means we return to God and ask His forgiveness. Because God is love, he has mercy on us. He is waiting to pardon us and restore us to a right relationship with Him. We are all familiar with the Parable of the Prodigal Son related to us by Jesus in the Gospels. God is a much more loving, forgiving Father than any earthly father could ever be. Heaven is waiting to throw a party when we repent and return home.