For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans
Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.
I Corinthians 4:1-21
This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.
For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men.
We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things. I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me. That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church. Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?
We may take credit for nothing more than following the lead of the Spirit.
“…regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. …”
All that we are has been given to us by God. All we accomplish is enabled by him. Scripture states “Who can know the mind of God,” and “who is man that you (God) visit him?”… We, therefore, are in error when we boast to be able to do that which was from God. Can we judge others when we can’t truly even judge ourselves? “The Lord judges…” and praise will come from him, the only true praise for he knows all; our hearts, our thoughts… We would do better to praise him for our abilities and thank him for them.
“… each one will receive his commendation from God….” “…not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another….”
These thoughts and comments deal with an attitude of the heart. They deal with the foothold of personal conceit that can lead to a stronghold of selfish pride that keeps us from hearing the Lord for our focus shifts inward rather than toward Him.
“…the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power….”
If Paul came to visit us would he find a lot of talk or the demonstrated power of God?