Pride in the Pews

10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. 16 Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other. 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. (1 Corinthians 1:10-17)
It is sometimes funny to me when people talk about becoming like the early church. Yes, there were some major positives in the early church that we should emulate and some great examples that we should follow, but the early church had problems just like the church today. The battle with the sinful nature was around then and it is still alive today. 
After thanking God for His work of salvation in the believers at Corinth, Paul immediately makes his heartfelt appeal to the Corinthians…Be unified! 
The Corinthian church thought it was spiritual, mature, and the best church in the area. But Paul had a different opinion. Their pride, puffed up views, and petty disputes with one another proved their immaturity.
As I read this passage this morning, I was drawn to Paul's appeal. I plead with you… I pictured a father with his children, "Please, stop. Can't you get along? Are you really fighting over such pointless things? Can't you learn to speak encouragement to one another instead of always tearing each other down?" 
It still boggles my mind how people would rather be right about their opinions and miserable than to swallow their pride and seek reconciliation and peace. But then I stop and realize how hard it is for me to admit that I am wrong, to take a rebuke, to say that I am sorry, to stop talking long enough to listen to someone else. Ouch!
Now I am sure the Corinthians thought they were arguing over important things. 
I am of Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles. 
Well, I am of Apollos, the great orator of truth. 
Gimme a break, I am of Cephas, the disciple who walked with the Lord. 
You are all so childish, I am the one who is truly following Christ.
But in Paul's assessment, it was all puffed up pride. The key word in all those statements is the word "I." It stands at the forefront of immaturity and at the center of pride and sin. When we start spouting out our opinions as if they are the standard and the measure by which others should be measured, then we need to stop and check our heart.
God throws different people together in a family…and in a church…to teach us how to humble ourselves and to learn how to love. 
Lord, deliver me from me. 
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