Friday, October 13, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Harmony

How To Live In Harmony
A devotional by Sharon Musgrove

“I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.”—1 Corinthians 1:10 NLT

The Apostle Paul wrote the above words to a church that is mirrored in our western churches today. Paul was instrumental in the formation of the Corinthian congregation, spending over a year bringing together people who were used to living self-serving, indulgent, and sinful lives. In his absence, they reverted into disunity. Like them, today’s church needs Paul’s preaching on living in harmony, as we too unravel in disagreement.

Paul begins by telling the Corinthian church how grateful he is for them and how in Jesus Christ they’ve been gifted “eloquent words” and all knowledge (1 Corinthians 1:5 NLT). But then he points out that they are using their gifts against one another by quarreling (verse11) and arguing over who is following the better leader (verse 12). Somewhere along the line the members regressed from a “we mentality” to a “me mentality.”

Does the world know we are Christians by our love for one another? Or are we better known for being argumentative? Are we using scripture and our spiritual gifts against one another in a “me first” mindset? Have we stunted the growth of the church by our divisions? Christ implores us to live in harmony.

What does it mean to live “of one mind, united in thought and purpose”? Paul’s letter to the Corinthians informs us today in this “one mind” way. Chapter by chapter the Apostle lays out truths that are applicable now.

Let’s read some of those truths found in God’s Word (The Holy Bible):

  • Jesus is the foundation of our collective, everything we bring to the church must be supported and aligned with Him (1 Corinthians 3).
  • There’s no human hierarchy. Leaders are no better than followers. We’re all following Christ’s lead (1 Corinthians 4).
  • Behaviors that do not build up others, but promote self over others, destroy the community. Normalizing these behaviors creates a cancer with the Body (1 Corinthians 5).
  • The physical body is sacred and is to be treated with respect and mutuality in relationships. (1 Corinthians 6-7).
  • We are each in various stages of maturity and need to be both mindful and respectful of the maturation process of others, giving them the same freedom to grow as God gives us (1 Corinthians 8-9).
  • When we want more than what God deems good for us, we create idols that destroy. Everything we do is to seek not our own advantage, but God’s glory (1 Corinthians 9-10).
  • Neither men nor women are made independent of one another (1 Corinthians 11).
  • God has imparted spiritual gifts on His followers, unique to the individual, but for the purpose of common good (1 Corinthians 12).
  • Love is the core of everything, revealing itself in patience and kindness, lacking in envy, pride, arrogance, or rudeness. Love does not demand its own way, nor is it irritable or resentful. It is not happy with injustice, but thrills with truth. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance (1 Corinthians 13).
  • Pursue with eagerness putting your spiritual gifts to use for the edification of the community, to increase it. And in doing so, be considerate of others in an orderly and appropriate way (1 Corinthians 14).
When Paul heard of the discord within the church, he quickly addressed them with the loving heart of a Godly overseer. He told them how valuable they were, how much they meant to him, and then redirected them with instructions in these basics of harmonious living. We need to follow suit with one another, because without unity we fail to live out Christ’s calling.

Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, we submit to You. We ask your forgiveness for our self-serving, indulgent, and sinful lives. Create in us a desire to live in Christian unity and to prioritize others as Christ modeled. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “If We Are The Body” by Casting Crowns. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Sharon Musgrove is a self-proclaimed sociologist. The opportunities opened to her, over the years, have led her on a fascinating journey observing human behavior.

She has a diverse background in business, fitness, and health industries. This background led her to a unique position writing curriculum and teaching for two private, Christ-based, residential recovery programs. Both programs primarily served women in the homeless community.

Sharon has traveled multiple times to Kenya, serving on medical teams and teaching in the rural Maasai communities. She’s been privileged to participate in Leadership camps for maturing young women. These annual camps have a mission of encouraging and empowering the impoverished, underprivileged, and often abused young Maasai girls.

Identifying personally with the brokenness of the women she’s served, Sharon sees all people as needing more encouragement regardless of cultural or socioeconomic status. Within these ministries, Sharon has witnessed the transformative power of loving words spoken to the broken-hearted. Sharing God’s love and witnessing its transformative power has become her passion.

In her leisure time, Sharon enjoys her garden, health food, travel, and a good story. She and her husband, Jeff, divide their time between Oregon and Hawaii. They have two grown children.

Currently, Sharon is encouraging others via her inspirational blog, but prefers sharing face to face. Additionally, she is studying Christian fiction writing.

Connect with Sharon:

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