“. . . That no one of you might become arrogant in behalf of one against the other” (1 Corinthians 4:6).
Genuine humility among Christians will leave no room for arrogant partisanship.
The Corinthian church was a notorious illustration of the sin of partisanship among believers. Its partisanship—some members claimed allegiance to Paul, some to Apollos, and some to Cephas (Peter)—was essentially caused by pride. Paul, as author of 1 Corinthians, vigorously opposed such pride of divisions, as Apollos and Peter would have.
The Corinthian believers did have reason to be thankful to God for sending them such quality leaders. And it was right for those in Corinth to respect and honor their spiritual elders. Scripture says, “Appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction” (1 Thess. 5:12). However, the Corinthians went far beyond God’s Word and exalted the leaders for the prideful sake of themselves, the followers, thus creating partisan sects.
Such partisan spirit, even on behalf of godly leaders, always leads to hostility toward other faithful servants of God. And the motivation behind all this is pride, which is essentially having an inflated (arrogant) view of yourself, one that says “I’m for me.” When pride rules the operations of any church, humility is forgotten, and fellowship and harmony are inevitably torn apart.
You can help prevent or counteract partisanship simply by considering that all the daily benefits you take for granted—food, housing, clothing, job, family— are yours because of God’s kind providence. And if you’re a Christian, you have eternal life, God’s Word, spiritual gifts, and many other blessings that are all of grace. The apostle James reminds us, “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17).
So again we see that God gives us every reason to be humble and leaves no place for pride and partisanship. If you have a good pastor and good elders or deacons, humbly thank God for them. You and your leaders are all stewards of God, entrusted for a short while to serve Him with His resources.
Suggestions for Prayer
Pray that the Lord would help you be a positive influence for humility and harmony, rather than for pride and partisanship.
For Further Study
Read Acts 14:8-18.
• How did the people of Lystra react to Paul and Barnabas?
• How difficult was it for Paul and Barnabas to correct the people’s errors?
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997.