Plea for Grace is an appropriate title for this blog. I am continually aware of God’s grace in my life. I often wonder if the unpredictability of my health is God’s grace in keeping my idol of perfectionism and people pleasing knocked down. . .
In my last post (yes, over a month ago) I stated my intent to have discussion questions for 1 Corinithians weekly. That didn’t happen. . .
So, here we are. I am still studying 1 Corinthians; I’m still struck by how easy it is to follow someone or something other than Christ, and become judgmental, proud and arrogant. I have been encouraged to approach God’s Word with the understanding that it is the Holy Spirit who opens my eyes and heart to understand. My heart so easily deceives me, but God searches my heart and knows my heart, and He is faithful to show me my true heart, so I can repent and draw closer to Him. The Almighty God has chosen to reveal HIMSELF to me through the Holy Spirit, and through the Son coming to earth and living among men. What a privilege to KNOW my God, my Savior!!
In Chapter 4, Paul tells the Corinthians that, though they have had many guides (i.e. Apollos, Peter) they only have one father in the faith — him. Then he exhorts them to imitate him. So, here’s my question — do I live my life in such a way that I can encourage people to “follow me as I follow Christ” (that’s a look-ahead reference to chapter 11)? That’s a question not only for around church, but also in my home and where I work. Paul is admonishing the Corinthians (and us) to have only “one face” — to be the same person at home, at church, at work, and in private.
Another observation/question, which hits especially close to home with me — in 4:8-13 Paul is essentially comparing “us vs. you.” Though both are “in Christ” one “has it rough” (as we would say) and the other “has it easy.” I repeat, both are “in Christ.” Honestly, I struggle with that. It drives deeply into my “fairness button” of sin in thinking I deserve or I’m entitled, especially when I sink into the “but I’ve given up all this for You, God, and this is how You repay me?” (Yuck — it looks/sounds awful just writing it!)
Everything that I have or am comes from God (v 7). Everything. I have life; I am blessed. I have eternal life that I do not deserve; I am so blessed. God has chosen to display His glory in my weakness. That is God’s business; that is His right as my Master. I love the honesty of the Scriptures — Peter had the same issue when he asked Jesus “what about John?” in John 21. And Jesus’ answer — it’s none of your business what I do with him; you follow me and let me use you how I see fit.
I think that’s what Paul keeps driving at with the Corinthians. Monetary success and ease of life does not indicate spirituality. A life lived for the gospel, dependent on the Spirit is the life to follow. At the same time, “living without” and “having nothing” does not guarantee that you are a mature believer. It’s back to the heart issue. God knows our hearts; the Spirit searches our hearts. God has entrusted His precious gospel to us; how will I steward that treasure?
I trust that you are being challenged as you read God’s Word. To paraphrase Henry Blackaby, “every time you open God’s Word, that is God speaking, and you must make a choice; to obey, or not to obey.”
“Oh, God, open my eyes to behold these wonderful things from Your law! Incline my heart to Your Word, and not just to stuff. (from Psalm 119)
When I thought, “My foot slips,” your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up. When the cares of my heart are many,your consolations cheer my soul. (Psalm 94:18-19)
I love each of you; thank you for your grace and patience with me