Order in the house

I'm kind of a neat freak, or at least I used to be before I had kids. There are still some things that I routinely keep in order for fear of losing my sanity. For instance, the towels have to be folded a certain way and then placed in the closet with the most recently washed in the back, kind of like rotating stock at a grocery store. You're probably thinking that I'm a little OCD with stuff like that but hey, it helps keep me sane when things are in order, especially when there is such regular chaos in my house.

Order in life is a good things. A judge in a courtroom will bang his gavel and summon the bailiff when things start to get out of hand. A referee throws a flag or calls a foul when the game gets too rough. Police are routinely called to break up get togethers that have swelled beyond what is safe. And the apostle Paul steps in when the church needs a dose of "law and order."

In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul continues his teaching on spiritual gifts, specifically concerning the gifts of prophecy and tongues. You can read this chapter and make the initial assumption that Paul is advocating prophecy (which he is) and basically downgrading the use of tongues in church altogether (which he is as well). But the scope of what Paul is writing is much broader than that.

You see, Paul writes in verse 26 that anything that is done in church should be done for edification, i.e., the building up of each other. This isn't necessarily one of Rick Warren's five church purposes, but it's just as essential for the life of a church. When there's chaos in the house, there is no edification. He goes on to say in verse 33 that God is not a God of disorder but of peace.

There are lots of things in todays' church that can cause chaos:
  • Divisions among the members over issues or traditions

  • Lack of overall vision, which leads to individual ministries functioning as their own entities apart from the church

  • Out of control calendars where there don't seem to be enough days of the week to fit in all the programs

  • Lack of accountability which causes members to flounder in mediocrity and standards of truth to be called into question
You can probably expand that list greatly with your own ideas and experiences. Basically, Paul is telling us that, if it don't edify then it don't fly. How much of what we are doing in our churches today fail to edify our each other, much less glorify our God and King? Paul had to advise those believers in Corinth to cut out some of the stuff they were doing because those things were causing chaos and not edifying. What kinds of things do you need to take the scissors to where you serve?

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