WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
SEPTEMBER 6, 2021
TOPIC: SETTLE YOUR DISAGREEMENTS
BY T. O. BANSO
“And now I want to plead with those two women, Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement” (Philippians 4:2 New Living Translation).
Sometimes one of the most difficult things one could do is to make believers work together. It’s an age-long problem that Satan has used successfully to keep believers apart, hindering them from achieving great things together. The parties involved would always have their reasons from the non-essential to the essential, and at the end of the day, Satan wins!
Psalm 133:1 says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (New King James Version). Verse 2 says it is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments. And verse 3 adds that it is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the LORD commanded the blessing — life forevermore.
Satan doesn’t want this and, many times, God’s children cooperate with him to achieve his goal thus losing the benefits of being of the same mind towards one another.
In the early church in Acts 6, if the leadership of the church had not acted swiftly Satan would have corrupted the new move of God. He would have caused a problem between the Greek-speaking Christians and the Hebrew-speaking Christians.
Acts 6:1-4 says, “Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, ‘It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word’” (New King James Version).
Eventually, the seven deacons were appointed to oversee the daily distribution of food to the widows among the Greek-speaking Christians. This ensured that, as Ephesians 4:3 says, they kept the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. This is very important among brethren but it could sometimes be the most difficult thing to achieve. Instead of unity, there is schism or division. Everyone holds on to his version of the truth and cannot work together in unity.
Romans 12:16a says, “Be of the same mind toward one another” (New King James Version).The New Living Translation puts it this way: “Live in harmony with each other.” Romans 15:5 says a similar thing: “May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other — each with the attitude of Christ Jesus toward the other” (New Living Translation).
Inability to come into an agreement militates against brotherly love. Unresolved disagreement works against the health of the church. Unfortunately, this is common among believers today, causing division or splitting, or a cold war, which pollutes the entire spiritual atmosphere.
As brothers and sisters in Christ, and as members of the same family, believers should not allow disagreements to degenerate into a serious crisis in their midst. We should always strive to be in one accord, agreement, unity, or harmony as the early believers were.
Acts 1:14 says of the early church that they all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. Also, Acts 2:1 says that when the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. Furthermore, verse 46 says the believers continued daily with one accord in the temple, broke bread from house to house, and ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart.
We also see the unity among the believers in Acts 4:24 as they raised their voice to God with one accord. Acts 5:12 says, “And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch” (New King James Version). Acts 15:25 refers to the apostles and elders and the whole church in Jerusalem assembling with one accord.
Nevertheless, the church was not without cases of disharmony. We saw earlier the misunderstanding between the Hebrew and Greek-speaking Christians and how it was addressed. Also, Paul had to write, in Philippians 4:2, that two Christian sisters, Euodias and Syntyche, should settle their disagreement because they belonged to the Lord. “I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord” (New King James Version).
The New Living Translation says, “And now I want to plead with those two women, Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement.” We don’t know the particular issue between these two women in the Philippian church who were his co-labourers. However, it was so serious that it attracted Paul’s attention. Most probably, it was affecting the church.
Paul said, “And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life” (New King James Version). Paul wanted these two women “to agree in the Lord” (New Century Version), “to live in harmony, in union with the Lord;” (Twentieth Century New Testament), “to think the same way in the Lord” (World English Bible), or to make up “their differences as fellow Christians” (J. B. Phillips).
The Bible shows us how the failure of Paul and Barnabas to manage their differences well led to their separation. Acts 15:36-41 says, “Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.’ Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches” (New King James Version).
Probably, if they had another opportunity, Paul and Barnabas would have handled their disagreement in a way that would not cause their separation. Indeed, all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Nevertheless, the church should learn from them and learn to settle their disagreements.
The church must pray and work to see that believers are in one mind. 1 Corinthians 11:19 says, “For there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized” (English Standard Version). In other words, sometimes, divisions cannot be avoided. But as much as possible, believers should be like-minded. Brothers and sisters should learn to work together in harmony. “I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord” (Philippians 4:2 English Standard Version). Let us agree with one another in the Lord. Let us be of the same mind (Philippians 3:16b).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help the children of God to make up their differences as Christians and live in harmony with each other. Help the church to be of the same mind toward one another. Father, let there be unity in Your church. Help us to keep ourselves united in the Holy Spirit, and bind ourselves together with peace.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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