When Believers Bite                                                 

Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then?  Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. —Philippians 1:15-18 

Bites hurt! I remember when I was in junior high and a neighbor’s aging Great Dane took a surprise lunge at me and sunk its teeth into my arm. I had known that dog for years, so when it bit me it was a total shock. And wow, did that bite hurt! Today, I bear a scar on my arm in memory of that bite.

The apostle Paul’s circumstances were rough at best. He was in jail for boldly proclaiming the great news of Jesus Christ. While in jail for Christ—wham! Out of the blue, he gets bitten. The bite is not from a dog, but from a few members of his very own family—his own brothers in Christ. How sad is that? And, wow, how that must have hurt!

Most of Paul’s brothers and sisters in Christ were deeply grateful and concerned for Paul. Most were being challenged to live with increasing boldness for Jesus Christ as a result of his example. That was the reality with most, but then there were the “some.”  The “some” were a small number of individuals that were envious of Paul and saw him as a ministry rival rather than a ministry partner. The “some” saw Paul’s imprisoned situation as an opportunity to bring him down. So they lunged and sank their teeth into Paul.   

This would seem to be the time for Paul to wield his apostolic authority and have those boys taken to the dog pound. Or maybe these circumstances would be the final straw for Paul to throw up his hands and walk away from ministry thinking, “This is ridiculous!  People are a pain! I’m out!” Instead, even in the pain of the bite, Paul remained single-minded: “. . . whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.”  Paul saw life as all about Christ, all about the name of Jesus being lifted high and wide—even when believers bite.

Have you been bitten by others? Maybe even been bitten by a brother or sister in Christ? Bites hurt! And some bites bear lasting scars. Yet, our lives are not about our comfort. Life is not about me and it is not about you. Life is about the fame of the name of Jesus Christ. Therefore, even in the pain of the bite, when Christ is proclaimed, “in that I rejoice.” —Doug Helmer


·         When was the last time I was “bitten” by a brother or sister in Christ? How did I respond?

·         Are the scars I bear from previous injuries reminders of my choice to forgive, or do they point to a root of bitterness?

Prayer – Almighty Father in heaven, sometimes I have to shake my head at how believers behavior toward one another. I confess that I have been “bitten” and have also done some “biting.” Forgive me for that. Help me to keep my focus on You and Your glory, and not on the pain of my wounds. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Always True: 5 Great and Precious Promises of God
Always True: 5 Great and Precious Promises of God 

5 CD Series Set - $35.00

What if you believed—truly believed with all confidence that God is with you? How would today go for you if you knew without a doubt that God is in control? What would be different in your life if you were sure God is watching and good? What would you risk if you were certain God is victorious? 

Just how would believing God’s promises change your life?  

Ask the greatest Christian you’ll ever meet if they hold on to God’s promises and they’ll all say yes. Believing that God will do what He promises leads to a great life. The greatest Christian you’ll every meet knows, treasures, and is resting in the promises of God. They cling to these assurances that God gives His people so they can walk by faith while they wait for Him to work.

So what exactly does God promise?  In this topical study of what will always be true, Pastor James MacDonald will explore five great and precious promises that God keeps. Enter into this study with anticipation and faith that the God who makes these promises is faithful and true... always true.