ODJ: A Fine Mess

August 6, 2016 

READ: Acts 6:1-7  

But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent (v.1).

Until the latter part of the 20th century, most doctors believed there was nothing better for one’s health than cleanliness. But new research reveals that our bodies require some level of messiness, especially to build up our immune systems and fight off disease. Researchers believe that allergies are so common nowadays because our lives are too clean, and our immune systems can’t decipher between dangerous germs and harmless ones.

The first several chapters of Acts describe an early church that seemed to be free of messy stuff. In fact, chapters 2 and 4 both describe what appear to be a perfect community in which all were unified and sacrificing their lives for Christ and for one another. But in chapter 5 some messiness appears, and in chapter 6 a disagreement arises regarding two groups of widows in the church (v.1). It’s easy to view this moment as nothing more than a crisis. But, in reality, the church became stronger as a result of the conflict—new leaders were cultivated (v.5), the church became more unified and even Jewish priests came to place their faith in Christ! (v.7).

In the modern church, we have something akin to an addiction to cleanliness. We expect other believers and our Christian experience to be perfect. And because of this, we often view moments of difficulty and conflict as indicators that something is deeply wrong. While this might be the case, we should realise that in the same way our physical bodies need some challenges to be healthy, conflicts can help us grow together as believers. The challenges we encounter in community with one another can be just what we need to grow, to stretch, to be moulded by Jesus into the body of Christ we were meant to be!

—Peter Chin

365-day plan: Luke 12:22-48

Read Colossians 3:13 and see the posture Paul encourages us to have as we face conflicts with other believers. 
How do you approach messy situations in your life? How can God use them to strengthen your faith and build His church?