Jealousy and Strife: Signs of the Flesh

For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving like ordinary men?” (1 Corinthians 3:3)

Once upon a time, a preacher told the story of a man who was given the privilege of going for an excursion to hell and to heaven. When the man got to hell, he noticed the citizens were fed with the same food with which those in heaven were fed. Everyone sat in a circle, the food was placed in the middle and there was just one long spoon.

He then said the only difference was that those in heaven cared for each other so much so that each one would take the spoon and feed the person seated in the opposite direction and then pass the spoon to the next person until it came to his turn to be fed. Whereas in hell, everyone was struggling to feed himself and at the end of the day, the food gets thrown away and nobody gets to eat anything.

Today, St. Paul describes jealousy and strife as symptoms of persons who lack spiritual maturity; persons who are unspiritual and ordinary men; persons who are still of the flesh. Let us search our hearts. Are there people I am quarrelling with right now? Why? How can I make use of this situation to allow my spirit blossom?

For the Corinthians, their problem was that of taking sides between Paul and Apollos; similar to what happens when we begin to form camps around our spiritual leaders. Paul was really unhappy with them because they failed to see that both Paul himself and Apollos were nothing but mere instruments while God himself was the real Chief Shepherd; the one who makes the growth happen.

Having dealt with the demon-possessed man in the synagogue, Jesus went to the home of Peter where cured his mother-in-law of her fever. He also cured all those in the neighbourhood who were sick of all kinds of diseases and demonic possession. The people brought their sick ones to Jesus because they believed in his power.

There is something which Jesus did after the great session of healing and casting out demons which we must learn. When you are successful in fighting satan and destroying the forces of darkness, do not allow pride get into you. Prayer is one great cure for the vice of pride.

When we don’t pray, we forget it is not by our power and that is when we begin to fall. We can never be too tired to pray. From synagogue to the house, then to healing crusade yet Jesus still had to create time for personal prayer. What does this teach me? What excuse do I really have for skipping prayer?

Let us pray: O Jesus, give me the grace to grow deeper in the spirit. Amen.

Bible Study: 1st Corinthians 3:1-9, Psalm 33:12-21, and Luke 4:38-44).

Fr. Abu

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