August 24, 2020
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Has any human ever comprehended, truly comprehended, how important relational unity is to God? Sure, as Christians we like to believe we are peacemakers. Yet we quietly put up with divisions in our relationships all the time (or worse, we subtly work to uphold them, sometimes even subconsciously).
Our message this week challenges us to stretch our vision of what God intends for our relationships within the church. The cross not only reconciles us to God, but it also reconciles us to each other. Living in loving unity with all of our brothers and sisters is simply not optional in God’s eyes.
Never did that become more clear to me than when I noticed the details in today’s scripture passage. Here Paul lists some “works of the flesh,” and, I confess, I usually find myself just bleeping right through passages like this. “Sorcery? Enmity? Orgies? Yeah, yeah, yeah, of course that’s not me…” and I just skip the rest. But slow down and take a second look: “Dissensions? Divisions? Envy?” How about those? I mean, can I honestly say, “Those aren’t me either!” and just move on? Do I really never create or prop up any division? Never react in anger with my fellow believers? Never hold a grudge instead of grace? Never nurse a bit of scorn for a sister’s opinion or a brother’s actions?
The point is, let’s not sweep things like relational divisions under the rug because we think they’re “minor” sins or something we’re immune from. They are not, and we are not. Paul calls them “works of the flesh” and undealt with their consequences are just not good.
Be honest with yourself today: What kinds of disunity or division might you be living with or sowing in the world and not really thinking it’s any big deal? It could be a much bigger deal to God than you think. What might He be asking you to do about that?