Sunday, May 7, 2023
Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.
The baby church in Corinth presented Paul with one of the most difficult challenges he faced as a church planter. The letter we call 1 Corinthians reveals major worldliness, immaturity, and rivalry problems. What we know as 2 Corinthians has a much different tone, indicating that the Corinthian house churches had grown, matured, and become more Christ-like. Their relationships were healthier, and Paul didn't have to correct their abuses of the Holy Spirit but pointed to the glorious promise of the Spirit's presence in their lives and congregations:
For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us... can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord — who is the Spirit — makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. 
Problems persisted as Paul had to remind these brothers and sisters in Corinth that suffering was a part of the Christian life  and their power came from Christ being alive in them and not from their personal strength or position.  Our verses on relationships today come from some of Paul's last words in his letter to them. He gave them this promise in Christ: "The God of love and peace will be with you." He also gave them a "go-do" list of things to help ensure that they were the kind of people in whom God's promise could come true:
I am not sure how many more times Paul was with the Corinthian believers, spoke to them, or if he sent them another letter. But aren't these four behaviors an awesome set of goals for our relationship with other believers? Why don't you join me and write these four goals for relationships in Jesus' family on paper, and then add the prayer below at the bottom?
Precious and righteous Father, as I practice these four godly behaviors this week, I look with anticipation for Your love and peace in my life. Thank you, Jesus, for making this possible by pouring the Holy Spirit's power to love into my heart. * Amen.
Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.
'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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