I can recall several occasions during a message when the speaker discussed the reasons for Paul’s letter(s) to the Corinthians. How he had heard that there were factions at work that were (perhaps unconsciously) splitting the church apart. How they were proud of their tolerance of immoral practices. How they were proud of their “righteousness.” It wasn’t until I studied this chapter in preparation for this blog, that I really got how Paul was feeling. He was PO’d them.
Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have become kings—and that without us! How I wish that you really had become kings so that we might be kings with you! For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! 1 Cor 4:8-10
I’d never picked up on the fact that Paul was actually being sarcastic here. This spiritually immature church was thinking they were “it!” Paul’s admonition, though, must have hit hard. He was trying to get them to see that their haughtiness was actually having a negative effect. That in their pride over being “righteous” they were causing division.
How often does that happen to me? How many times have I looked at someone else, usually a non-believer, and passed judgment. Heck, I did it this morning, even after I had read this passage. How many times have I felt proud that I am an “authentic Christian?” Paul’s point was, it wasn’t about them – and it isn’t about me. I need to remember that I still have a long way to go – that even though it’s been many years since I accepted Christ, I am still spiritually immature. I need to resist becoming disconnected from God. I need to seek fellowship. I need to pray continually. I know I am saved, that part was easy. The gift of salvation is free after all. The hard part is not letting the “world” get the better of me.
God, my prayer today is that I can continue to stay truly connected to you. That I can live each day as you would live it. To love everyone as you do. Thank you for your Gift. AMEN
One response to “1 Sam. 23; 1 Cor. 4; Ezek. 2; Ps. 38”
I too have experienced feeling spirtually superior to others and when I realize I’ve done it I feel so stupid. When you consider that though we may aspire to be like Christ we fall so short so it really is preposterous that we think we have the right to judge anyone. I often pray for humility and to see everyone as Christ does. Just recently I looked out over a crowd of very diversified individuals and realized that with God’s grace I actually can love them all as he does. It was a very cool moment. I just wish I had more of those. Hang in there bud.