1 Corinthians 13 is one of the most powerful chapters in the entire Bible. Paul takes the time to emphasize the importance of love in all that we do. The verse that stood out to me as I read it today was verse 12, Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. Paul gives us hope for our future, that one day we will know what is important when we see God face to face. While we may not have all the answers right now, we will one day. And more importantly we will fully understand God’s perspective. It is hard to trust God has our best interest in mind, but with faith we know He ultimately does and we will fully understand it one day.
It is easy to get caught up in comparing our perceived effectiveness for God through comparison with other people. However, the reality is God does not expect us to be like someone else. He created us for a unique purpose for His glory. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 says, 4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Ultimately, nothing can effectively be used for God’s glory unless it is done through Him. If we try to accomplish grandiose tasks without Him in the process, then it is for our glory and we forgo glorifying God in the process.
1 Corinthians 11:29 made me think this morning, For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. Many times I approach communion at my church one of two ways: 1) It’s just an exercise I must go through because my church said so, or 2) I don’t feel worthy of participating because of where my heart may be or because of a struggle I am facing. As far as the first issue; it is important to approach communion with the proper heart. I think it is better to not participate than to just go through the motions for the sake of others around you. As for the second; when we approach communion we must remember why we are doing it. Communion is a remembrance of what Christ did for us on the cross. He expects us to come before Him as an imperfect sinner who needed His sacrifice. The more we recognize how fallen we are, the more communion brings us closer to God if we approach it with the right attitude and state of mind.
Lately I have heard a lot about the importance of God’s story. I have been reminded several times in the past couple of weeks that my life and my story are supposed to be about glorifying God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. When I let go of my glory and realize God is capable of turn all the good, and even the bad, in my life to His glory, it frees me to focus on Him rather than me. There is a lot of pressure each of us put on ourselves, but when we realize we are not alone and our glory doesn’t matter, it frees us from the burden of living this life for ourselves and focuses it on God.
Control over our minds and bodies is one of the hardest things we can do. To master the will of our subconscious can sometimes feel impossible. However, we do it because we want to be in control. 1 Corinthians 9:26-17 says, 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. Nothing we do should ever be done without meaning and purpose. God will bless us for our efforts. Training gives the athlete the ability to be compete in an event. The same goes for training our minds to look to God and Trust the Holy Spirit to lead us. It does not come naturally to us, so we must practice it each and every day.
I’m a big fan of John Piper. In this short video he talks about the sustainability of God’s grace. Without His grace it would be difficult, if not impossible, to make it in this world without God’s grace. I hope you enjoy this video as much as I did.
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Having good and foundational knowledge about the Bible is good, but it does not replace having a relationship with God and knowing Him in a personal way. 1 Corinthians 8:2-3 says, 2 Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. 3 But whoever loves God is known by God. The second part of this passage says there is something more important than us knowing God, and it is that God knows us. God loves us and wants to have a strong and meaningful relationship. What a privilege it is to be loved by God in this way. Let us never lose sight of that.
There are days I long for simplicity in life. A life where I didn’t have anything, or at least very few things. I spend to much time worrying about things. Life would be much simpler and I would probably focus on God more if I had few things to worry about. In 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 Paul says, 29 What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; 30 those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; 31 those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away. All of the things in are lives, whether it is relationships, possessions, or even our feelings should not own us and keep us from focusing on what is really important; our relationship with God. In the end, everything will burn and what remains is our eternal relationship with our Heavenly Father.
The grace we receive through Christ’s sacrifice is never to be discounted or taken for granted. We all sin no matter how hard we try or how good we think we are, but salvation from eternal death is real through God’s grace. It is important to understand what 1 Corinthians 6:12 says, “Everything is permissible for me,”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”—but I will not be mastered by anything. Just because we are saved through grace, does not mean we are free from the consequences of making bad decisions. A righteous life will always be the most rewarding on this earth.
As modern day believers, we are becoming more hesitant to hold each other accountable to righteousness. While we are not to judge, we should be accountable to each other as a community of believers. 1 Corinthians 5:12 says, What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? The problem most of us face is that we allow ourselves to become the judges of the world. God will judge the non-believers. Let us focus on believer who know and trust us to a higher standard of righteousness.