There is absolutely no room for any kind of arrogance or elitism of any kind within the body of Christ - those of us claiming to be seekers & followers of Jesus Christ! Whatever our individual gifts;purposes;positions,etc., are n our everyday life,The Lord says that they are ALL significant,and that we need to be careful about deeming some with more honor than others,and especially careful of allowing the enemy to make us think that some personal gifts/callings/purposes,no matter how menial our “worldly measure” may deceive us to believe,are of less value than any other “members of the body”.This worldly deception within the body of Christ is a direct attack on what 1Corinthians12 addresses.The Corinthian body of believers had drifted so far away from the Heart of God that they were honoring people the way the world around did-placing a scale of value on an individual based on their “position” n the church or community.1Cor12 says that when this happens the whole body suffers(1Cor12:25-26).This might be a reason that the population of the U.S.A is in reality becoming less and less a country that truly honors God’s Word and God’s Heart!Because The Body of Christ is suffering from the way we honor some above others-leaders above servants;teachers above students;successful above less than successful;accredited above the unaccredited;one neighborhood above another;one job above another;etc. In fact,chapter 12 of 1Cor says that the “worldly less valued” may be the very source of encouragement&survival that is desperately needed many times.Yet,we still have a strong tendency to “undervalue” some people,& “overvalue” others by the way we choose to honor people based on a world measure of value.When we do this,we horribly miss so many of miraculous ways that God desires to make The Whole Body healthy and vibrant!This includes the perspective on the Right kind of Health&Vibrancy within the Body of Christ as a community of believers,as well as the Right kind of Health&Vibrancy in our own hearts/minds/lives!So when we turn away eternal value in some people because of a worldly measure of value,we deny ourselves what 1Cor12 describes as an overall Health&Vibrancy for our lives,and we may even make it impossible for us to “walk”’where God would have our lives “walk”(giving a foot less honor than another body part),or discern what we need to know for our protection & guidance(giving the nose less honor than another body part).Our body must have all the parts healthy and “plugged in” as imperative elements of our whole being,or we are much less than we are meant to be/made to be.And when this fails to happen in the larger body of Christ,the larger body of Christ becomes much less than what God means for His Church to be.We loose HIS intended HEALTH and HIS intended VIBRANCY!Dear Jesus,I ask for Your Spirit to make me aware of this lesson in my life,and I ask You to bring about the correction of the way I “measure/value” those around me...so I may have the Health and Vibrancy in my life that You desire to give me through all of those around me that are a part of the body of Christ.
1Cor10:23-24 gives a simple standard by which we should live our lives,if we are to have the wisdom Christ intends us to have relative to our freedom in Christ.In fact it reminds me of something that happened n my life,that was a life lesson in a different way.I had been a runner for most of my life,and about a year before my 50th birthday decided to run a marathon.Even though I had a good base of running for a number of years,in order to prepare to run a marathon and get the most/best from it,I learned that I would need to commit to a list of disciplines that not only included a more serious running schedule,but also a diet that removed things that were not good for my body while adding things that were more beneficial for me.I also needed to be more deliberate about what I did with my time,being more careful about not wasting as much of it as I had before,and making sure that I also got the rest I needed.I trained for about 9-10 months,gradually increasing the miles I was able to run without injury,and enhancing my body’s ability to recover quickly.The day of the marathon came,and I was able to enjoy the sites,sounds,camaraderie,and especially crossing the finish line with my middle daughter.After the marathon I decided that I “deserved” a rest,and didn’t run for about a month,& I started eating “stuff” that was not part of my training diet....,and wasting a lot of my time.Now mind you,over the past 9-10 months I had run in all kinds of weather,even sleet and snow...,and never got sick!Almost the moment I decided “I deserved” a break,I got sick...so sick I had trouble going up a set of stairs.I learned that the “freedom” I had gained from deciding to commit to a marathon,which included the disciplines necessary to run one,was realized through the disciplines that “built me up”/“edified” me for the marathon!And when I turned away from those disciplines,my “building up”/“edifying” was compromised.During that time I read articles where other runners said the same thing!I didn’t need to keep up the same rigor of running miles after miles,but I should not have stopped cold turkey,nor should I have started eating some of the things I had turned away from during the previous months of training,and not eating the things that were best for me...and I should of kept the disciplines about how I managed my time,& rested.I needed to keep the things in my life that I had learned would build me up/edify me,instead of falling away from them.N these verses of 1Cor10:23-24 Paul is telling us about this very thing,with the added dynamic of not only being aware of what builds us up/edifies us personally...but does the same for those around us!In essence Paul says that when we are taking care of the business/disciplines that ETERNALLY build us up/edify us personally,our lives will build up/edify those around us for ETERNITY’s sake-1Cor10:23-24,”All things are lawful,but not all things build up/edify.Let no one seek his own good,but that of his neighbor.”In fact,Paul gives us the wisdom of asking ourselves “what in my life actually builds up/edifies those around me?”Maybe he does this so we will be less self centered/less selfish in our thinking,because self centeredness & selfishness is such an easy detour our lives can take,leading us down a path of selfish/self centered “self destruction” when we concentrate more on ourselves than those around us.These verses encourage us to seek the wisdom of what is best for me to feed on;train on;keep away from;manage time with;rest with;etc.All from a perspective that has others best interests above my own.Dear Lord,this one is difficult to “listen to”...because of how many times You have reminded me of these lessons and how many times I turn from the wisdom of them.May Your Spirit help me to not only be reminded of these lessons,but help me to also apply them into my whole life...and turn my heart more to the people around me than on myself.
N the world around us,is an environment that is at enmity with the Spirit and Word of God,and therefore at odds with ABSOLUTE TRUTH!We should not b surprised by the way those who have not turned to Christ for His Grace&Mercy act differently than we need to act;respond differently than we should to life’s deepest/most important questions;prioritize “life stuff” differently than we should;discipline their lives differently than we need to;etc!Yet,our actions;words;&attitudes often indicate a surprise that comes across as judgemental & condemning to those that have not yet appreciated the Amazing Grace&Mercy of Christ.1Cor9:19-27 teaches about the life/attitude/heart we need to have as we live n a world at enmity with God,& the disciplines we also need to maintain in our lives...if we are to “run the race” of life n a way that is a blessing to those around us,as well as a blessing for ourselves personally that is ETERNAL(1Cor9:25,”Everyone who competes n the games goes into strict training.They do it to get a crown that will not last;but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”)We, OURSELVES, must train ourselves to be ready for whatever the “day’s games” are going to challenge us with.The “training” for believers is found n The Word of God and through His Spirit leading us/training us/preparing us for each and every day.If we are not “training”,then we r either foolishly unaware of each day being a “race”/challenge of some kind,or we just don’t care about winning a crown that lasts forever!Each day has potential Eternal Blessings/crowns waiting for us to “run to” as we live as Christ calls us/trains us to live.1Cor9:19 says that these blessings are especially the impact our lives can have on those around us for the sake of Eternity(“For though I am free from all(free because of a personal relationship with God through Christ),I have made myself a servant to all(having a sincere heart desire to be a living conduit of The Gospel to others),that I might win more of them(that my life may be what Jesus uses to love others into His Saving Grace&Mercy/The Gospel)).As we are “running” every day,included in the lessons of 1Cor9:19-27 is the call for our lives to be considerate of others,without allowing our personal lives to dip back into the ways of the environment around us that is at enmity with God-1Cor9:20-23”To the Jews I became as a Jew,n order to win the Jews.To those under the law I became as one under the law(though not being under me the law myself) that I might win those under the law.To those outside the law I became as one outside the law(not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ)that I might win those outside the law.To the weak I became weak.I have become all things to all people,that by all means I might save some.I do it for the sake of The Gospel,that I may share with them in its blessings.”In other words,we are to have such a soft heart for the lost that we are humbled by their eternal condition without The Gospel being appreciated in their lives,& that our heart breaks for them.So much so that we train ourselves up for the sake of The Gospel in their lives...preparing ourselves for the challenges that will surely come into our own lives as we run with Eternal Purposes as our motivation->crown/blessings that last forever.AND as we run each day’s race,we maintain the personal disciplines in the way we live/run that are the “training” we receive from God’s Word and The Spirit of Christ!Dear Lord,I miss the “race” so many days...not even showing up at the starting line for the day,let alone “training up” for the day.Thank You for bringing these verses into my life today! AND may Your Word and the Strength of Your Spirit be the source of my “running” today...may I also have the kind of heart for those in my path today that these verses call me to have...may Your Life/Your Grace/Your Mercy be lived out n my run today.
N 1Corinthians8,Paul addresses an arrogance that can be difficult to recognize n our lives.An arrogance that can come from an incorrect sense of our “position” n Christ as believers and followers of Christ.The believers n Corinth had allowed their “freedom” n Christ to redefine their lives to suit their personal interests,instead of realizing the purpose of our freedom found n Christ as THE WAY for us to have a personal relationship with ALMIGHTY GOD-remember that a theme of this letter to Corinth is addressing the problems/complications/challenges/dangers brought on by spiritual immaturity...,& the signs of this immaturity that cuts our life path short of knowing GOD as our FATHER-1Cor8:1-3 says,”Now concerning food offered to idols:we know that “all possess knowledge”(the people Paul is addressing have “knowledge” of being saved by Christ).This knowledge puffs up,but love builds up.If anyone imagines that he knows something,he does not yet know as he ought to know.But if anyone loves God,He is known by God.”Paul is telling the believers n Corinth that their “faith/belief” n Christ has stopped far short of the PURPOSE for which Christ suffered to give us!AND because of these shortcomings they have been MIS-PURPOSING their freedom n Christ according to their personal interests/puffing up!They had the right knowledge,but they were MIS-PURPOSING this knowledge by stopping far short of the RIGHT PURPOSE of the knowledge/THE PURPOSE GOD INTENDED...which is to be the FULL
PROVISION for them to have a personal love relationship with God(“But if anyone imagines that he knows something,he does not yet know as he ought to know.But if anyone loves God,he is known by God”). If we stop at BELIEF n THE KNOWLEDGE of the Gospel,without rightly realizing THE FULL PURPOSE of the Gospel of Christ n our lives,we end up at the arrogance & immaturity Paul is describing n these verses.An arrogance that robs us of having the Love Relationship with Almighty God that The Gospel of Christ was intended to free us from sin to have.N fact by stopping short n this way,we inevitably n up making excuses for sin n our lives-just as the people n Corinth were doing.The byproduct of this n the Corinthians lives was that their lives were we’re making those around them “stumble” instead of being edified because of their FAITH n Christ(1Cor8:9).A “faith” that is wrongly purposed for personal motives always results n sin & immaturity of some kind...that ultimately causes those around us to stumble.This includes the sins&attitudes of legalism,as well as those that r part of the wrong kind of freedom Paul is addressing here.The boil-down of what Paul is saying is that knowledge ALONE will change our lives n ways God never intended His Word and His Gospel to impact our lives,but when we apply the same knowledge too free us “INTO” a Love Relationship with GOD as our FATHER our lives will be changed in miraculous ways that bring us a joy surpassing all understanding,& weave our hearts/minds/lives so with The Holy Spirit that people around us are eternally edified.Dear Lord,there r so many ways that I have MIS-PURPOSED the LOVE expressed by Your Gospel for me...forgive me...and may Your Word& Spirit teach and guide me away from this...and into a better/deeper/broader Love Relationship with You as my Father n Heaven.
In chapter 5 of 1Corinthians,after warning the people of spiritual immaturity and the arrogance that comes with it,Paul tells the people that this immaturity & arrogance allows the “little leaven”(1Cor5:6) into our lives that infects the “whole lump”/our whole heart/life/mind to the point that we will eventually find sin of some kind becoming more and more a source of hardening our hearts for Christ!When Paul lists these sins n verse 11(“sexual immorality or greed,or is an idolater,reviled,drunkard,or swindler”),we must peel the onion back of these to glean the wisdom and discernment that God’s Spirit yearns for us to have relative to our own lives & our personal relationship with HIM.Yes,Paul is giving us these verses to protect the larger body of believers from those within the church that are hardened by sin.But there is another purpose of protecting us individually/personally from allowing the leaven of sin to knead itself into our own heart/mind/life.He is telling us to be aware of these things creeping into our heart/mind/life!A quick read of these things can leave me with a false sense of “being ok”.But when I dig into what these things mean when dissected to the core of what they describe,I can see “fine grains of leaven” these things can start out as in my heart/mind/life.In our times of the Internet,visual reality,virtual reality,etc.,what we allow our eyes & mind to “partake of” defines sexual immorality in ways that were unknown at the time Paul wrote,but can be as dangerous to our hearts/minds/lives as the actual physical act of sexual immorality!Maybe even more dangerous because of the way we can more easily “hide” this version of sexual immorality from the outside world,thereby enabling it’s virus to do more damage to our “whole lump”/whole life.The same thing is true for the other things in this list!We need to dig into the root of each of these,so we can see what other “unseen” viruses are waging war inside...those that we are covering up the same way the people in Corinth were-by going to church,Sunday school,tithing,teaching,pastoring,checking of the performance boxes...and still allowing their hearts/minds/lives to b contaminated with “a little leaven” of bits of greed/selfishness;arrogant reviling/criticizing in ways that make us feel better about ourselves;drunkenness on anything that numbs our heart/mind/life to TRUTH;&swindling/any kind of deception for personal gain.Dear Lord,when I dig deeper into what this list of sins really address as warning signs for my heart/mind/life,I realize how much more of Your HELP I need in being aware of these things in my life,and removing these grains of “leaven” from my heart/mind/life.Lord Jesus,help me with this...give me Your Courage for this...& may Your Spirit freely move in my life to remove the grains of “leaven” from my heart/mind/life.