"Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice" - Ephesians 4:31 (NIV).
Disagreements are common in life, and naturally do happen also among the people of God. Paul and Barnabas were companions with a passion to share the Gospel in the early church. Indeed, they were sent out as a team to Jerusalem to seek clarity on a matter of huge disagreement, as some were saying, "Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved" (Acts 15:2).
Yet somewhere along the way the two companions also disagreed- this time on account of who to move out with on their next journey. "Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work.They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company" (vv 37-39).
So, was that an odd thing? There are those of us who would see disagreements or even expressing them as out of the ordinary. Perhaps we would rush to suppress them by denying their existence. In our view two good and more so godly people should just get along, perhaps seeing disagreement as unspiritual.
Yet here for Paul and Barnabas once they aired their differences and it was clear that they could not see eye to eye, they agreed to go separate ways. "Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches (vv 40-41). In the end God would use each one mightly in their separate walk.
Harmony is of course ideal in any relationship and the word of God inspires us so. However, guenine differences of views even among God's people can happen. Not only should we create a civilised atmosphere where parties can openly disagree without "fear or favour" but if no common position is reached, it's okay to go separate ways, without rancour and bitterness as we see with these two pioneers of the Christian faith.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, in those moments of disagreement may your Holy Spirit guide me to find common position and if not possible part without bitterness for each one to be used of you still, this I pray in Jesus's name.
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“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God”- (Philippians 4:6).
Perhaps you have heard of a certain old magical trade known as mind reading. According to this trade which has been around for millenniums and has its share of tricksters, mind readers are able to discern thought patterns of individuals before they even utter a word. There are places in the world where this, as expected, is a lucrative occupation, with practitioners, often crafty magicians, demanding hefty fees, just to tell thoughts of others.
As Christians, of course, we have an all knowing God, who has said, “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” ( Mathew 6:8). Further, our Lord has pointed out, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words” ( Mathew 6:7). As Christians when we come to God, we do so with full confidence, that He already knows our needs and will meet them according to his glorious riches in heaven.
Of particular interest for us here is that while God perfectly knows our needs before we even dare utter a single word, still it is incumbent upon us to make our requests known to Him. A parent may have long noticed a child has a need for a new pair of shoes; but it is another dimension, when the child does come out and share aloud that his pair is worn out, hurting and is quite in need of a new one. The parent takes notice, especially when the matter is presented with such conviction and urgency. This is why Hannah cried out to God for a child ( 1 Samuel 1:9-18).
In our relationship with God, as the Apostle Paul advises us, it is not just enough to assume and let matters be, that after all God knows all our needs, but we too bear a responsibility to make our requests known to Him. Once we are done with that, we let God do His part, allowing “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” ( Philippians 4:7) to flood us.
So, today, do not hold back your needs from the Almighty God. He has paved the way to walk to Him through His son Jesus Christ, to present your case, bear out your heart’s desire, and let Him do His part!
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise to make my requests known to you, knowing you have heard me even before I utter a single word, assured that you will meet each and every one of my needs, according to your glorious riches in heaven!