Conflict and Diversity

Helen Brownson

READ : Philippians 1:12-19

We live in a town with an abundance of churches. We are able to choose among a plentiful number of fine places of worship. Unfortunately the competition between congregations is often intense. We may become spiritual snobs when evaluating other believing communities. Our incentives for church work are not always pure.

In our reading, Paul describes persons who were preaching the gospel with mixed motives. He was persecuted and in prison, but he testifies that his incarceration happened for the advance of the gospel! Even though some did so in an unworthy way, Christ was being proclaimed and in this he rejoiced.

As we think of our own circumstances, I wonder how we feel when souls are being blessed in the church down the street even though we disagree with their doctrine, mode of worship and lifestyle. Can we rejoice that, though they differ from us, Christ is preached? Paul indicates that all this will turn out for his deliverance through sincere prayer and the Spirit’s help. We all need Paul’s broader vision of our circumstances to overcome the negatives that hold us back.

PRAYER

Lord, help us to see our circumstances with the same Christ-centered and positive perspective as Paul.