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What Causes Division?

Something I’ve had to deal with since I was a volunteer in ministry has been divisive people. I’ve heard anything from “My old pastor said/did/gave us this, so you should as well” to “I perceived you said/did this, even though all evidence is to the contrary, so I will seek to destroy your ministry.” Maybe in not so many words, but things like these (and more). And so I ask myself “why do these things happen?” And I search the scriptures, and they happened to Jesus, and they happened to Paul, and they happened to the prophets and anyone else who tried to do what God called them to do. My conclusion on the matter is this: a) Satan hates the ministry and will do anything he can to destroy and disrupt, and b) people are selfish, self-centered, and don’t seek the overall health of the ministry/church, but want to get their way. James says this about it:

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:1-12

Divisiveness has no place in the body. Serving our own passions is against the will of God. Jesus says all the law and prophets are fulfilled when we “love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength,” and when we “love our neighbors as ourselves.” (See Mark 12:28-34). In this, we cannot break the law of Christ. If we seek to love God with everything we are, we seek to obey Him, not out of obligation, but out of love. When we love our neighbors as ourselves, we’re loving those whom God has made, and putting their needs before our own. When we put others before ourselves, we can’t violate our neighbors! In this we fulfill the Royal Law of love, letting love be our motivator, putting to death fleshly wants, wishes and desires which cause wars among God’s creation. This is why we pray “Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus,” because the flesh is constantly at war with our Spiritual selves (See Galatians 5:16-24). So set aside the flesh. Stop seeking your will, seek God’s will and the good of your neighbor, and you will see God’s peace mend any division (or remove it all together).

1 Corinthians 1:10-17

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

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