“…for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” (1 Corinthians 3:3 NKJV)
Christians should live according to a higher standard. Paul let the Corinthians know that they weren’t living up to that standard. How did he know? There was envy, strife, and division in the church. If the words of Jesus are true, people will know that we follow Him because of our love for each other. The church at Corinth somehow didn’t get that right. Paul had to treat them as babies in the faith because they couldn’t grow to the point that they could love each other no matter what. The spiritual person doesn’t point out how much more spiritual he or she is than others, they just keep drawing closer to God every day and learn to practice unconditional love while they do that. The church at Corinth hadn’t gotten to that point. Paul called them carnal. When they should have been living as followers of Christ with a lifestyle greater than those around them, they lived as mere men.
These days, we wouldn’t need Paul to tell us that. We not only know it, we glory in our status as mere men. We excuse our sin because we’re “mere men.” We have strife in our churches. We’re envious when we see other churches do something that our churches can’t do, not realizing that they’re envious of us when they see what we’re doing. Strife is rampant in the church and between churches and denominations. The disciples came from a wide variety of political and religious persuasions. When they were focused on Jesus, they didn’t have problems. When they focused on themselves and their future role in the kingdom, problems arose. We can learn a lesson from this. If we focus on Jesus and loving each other because of who He is, we can get along with just about anyone. When we start worrying about other issues, including our position in the kingdom of God, that’s when we have envy, strife, and divisions.
Lord, help your followers to be one in Your Spirit as we go throughout life. Let us show the world that we love each other and support each other rather than living carnally in envy, strife, and divisions.