Pay attention to the tension in your body. Let go of it and any expectations to do anything other than God’s will today. Prepare yourself to hear God’s word.
17 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to keep an eye on those who cause dissensions and offenses, in opposition to the teaching that you have learned; avoid them. 18 For such people do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded. 19 For while your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, I want you to be wise in what is good and guileless in what is evil. 20 The God of peace will shortly crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
We live in a culture that is full of things and issues that divide us. Sadly, we see that there are those individuals and groups that seek to divide people for their own benefit. This is nothing new and here Paul addresses this issue in the church. Throughout Paul’s ministry, he encountered many individuals that sought to divide the church to promote their own ideas or to gain power. In our time, we continue to see the same thing. The charge Paul gives in verse 18 says we should be aware of “smooth talk and flattery” rings true today more than ever. False teachers and enemies of the Gospel rarely announce their true intentions so we must always be watchful and discerning. We have all seen how divisions can divide congregations and damage their witness in the community. Too much of the time and energy of the church is wasted on disagreements that are not really important. I have personally seen churches torn apart over which classroom a Sunday School class should meet in and whether to have gravy at a church breakfast. These are petty issues, but our pride can get wrapped up in them and cause great harm. We must be alert to these all too human issues in our church and even in our own hearts.
O God of peace and unity may you be with me this day. Help me to be an agent of peace. May I work to promote unity with my neighbors and to extend grace to others. Above all unify me with your Spirit and unify my will with your will. In the name of Christ. Amen.
Go with God!