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The way of the world is to be the best, be the first and be the most important no matter the cost. When it comes to the kingdom of God things are quite different.

You have to love how the disciples behaved when they walked with Jesus because they acted just like most of us. They were always arguing about who was the greatest disciple and Jesus seemed to always be correcting their thinking. This isn’t surprising though because they had to have their minds renewed just like we do.

One of these occasions, when they were arguing about their own self-importance, Jesus gave them an object lesson using a child. He put a child in the midst of them and told them they would have to receive him as a child, “For the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great.”

Immediately after this John said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name; and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not hinder him’ for he who is not against you is for you.” Jesus had told them to be child “like” not “childish.”

Soon after they were on their way to Jerusalem and went through a Samaritan village to make arrangements for Jesus. When the people in the village didn’t seem too enthused about Jesus; the disciples became upset. They said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them, [and said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s live, but to save them.”] Sometimes we seem just as fast to justify or defend our behavior.

If we don’t agree with everything someone else does its okay. I’m sure there are things I believe that plenty of people disagree with but the question is are we in competition? Does everything I believe have to be the only way? Part of maturing in the faith is not getting in a tangle over non essentials. We must learn how to get along with those who are in Christ even if they have a different form or tradition.

Sometimes you might see or hear someone preach the gospel and think to yourself “This guy is doing this for the wrong reason or he has the wrong attitude.” I would like to draw your attention to something the Apostle Paul said even while in prison. He said, “Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.” So Paul knew there were plenty of folks preaching for many, many reasons that didn’t seem to be the right ones, but rather than get mad and want to stop them or call down fire he said, “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice.” Paul was in prison and even though others were taking advantage of this he could still rejoice because Christ was being preached. The lesson here is, like Paul, we must keep the message of Christ in focus. Don’t let silly things distort the message because of childish competitiveness.

Written by Louie