Never underestimate the power of your presence. There’s a sphere of influence that goes everywhere you go, because Christ is with you. Through your lifestyle the Kingdom is communicated, and your words may be the lone voice of reason among a chorus of faulty counsel.
In many ways, we can observe creation and see that God made the universe in a way that’s understandable (laws of physics, etc.). Of course, there are many things we’ve yet to understand, but in what theologians call “General Revelation” we see and know certain things about the world and what’s proper. For example, a mom is naturally inclined to love her child, but strangers also instinctively know that she “ought” to love and nurture her child…why? Because it’s hard-wired in us.
In I Corinthians 14, Paul mentions “Godly order” regarding the way church gatherings should be conducted:
“For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.”
“Let all things be done decently and in order” – I Cor. 14:33, 40 NKJV
Yes, the definition of proper decency may be up for some debate, but the underlying attitude toward personal conduct shouldn’t be. Pettiness, self-promotion, arrogance, manipulation, pride, etc. should be rejected, not excused and justified. And when those things pop-up, observers often sense that it “ought” not to be that way. Even non-believers can sense it and get confused about what it means to follow Christ.
Are your habits today within the body “decent” and “orderly”? If so, they reflect a heavenly principle, if not, perhaps a moment of prayerful reflection is “in order”.
The word “love” is often used carelessly. In the Bible, however, the word love carries much more weight than just feelings that come and go, it involves an act of the will. It describes a “decided” love between people, love for God, and the love God has for us. As a matter of fact, 1 John 4: 8 says God is love. He doesn’t just show it or express it; it’s His nature. In 1 Corinthians chapter 13 (often called the “Love Chapter”), there’s an incredible list describing God’s type of love. Real love. Eternal love. Divine love. Durable love that withstands the pressures of life’s emotional winds.
So, with that in mind, consider the words in 1 Corinthians 13 matched up with people. This is the practical ways God shows His love every day:
With the anxious, He’s patient.
With the selfish, He’s kind.
With the popular, He’s not envious.
With the distracted, He doesn’t yell.
With the simple, He isn’t arrogant.
With the quiet, He isn’t rude.
With the hurried, He doesn’t seek His own.
With the accuser, He isn’t provoked.
With the repentant, He remembers no wrong.
With the unrepentant, He doesn’t enable.
With the seeking, He rejoices.
With the loving, He bears, believes, hopes and endures.
With the trusting, He never fails.
You are loved. How will you decide to love others today?
“The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.” – Psalm 19:8-9 NKJV
The ways of the Lord aren’t decrees given for reluctant compliance; they’re ways that are better, more productive, full of love, and truly fulfilling. May His name be praised today!
In the ancient world, Hittite craftsmen made bows by layering materials that were held together by a simple, but surprisingly strong glue. The “composite” design shot arrows faster and made the bow more durable. Modern technology has made many improvements, but the composite principle discovered long ago still applies (the different properties of each piece forming a strong, diverse union). In the body of Christ, we’re gifted differently and placed together for strength. 1 Corinthians 12 describes it this way:
“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Lord. There are differences of ministry, but the same Spirit. There are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.” – 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 NKJV
As a disciple, it’s important to know your strengths and weaknesses. One person may be the wood, and another may be the glue holding it all together. With each having an important job to do, if a component fails, others are affected. On the other hand, when those on either side are strong, the one in-between is supported. We all have purpose because we’re all being fashioned together by the Master Carpenter. May we be strong together today…
For example, one wrong calculation can cause a spaceship to miss its target by thousands of miles, and a decimal point can turn a good business deal into a disaster. As a former Pharisee, Paul was a man who appreciated a good checklist and details, but in 1 Corinthians 10:31 he chose a more general instruction than a list to check-off. Here’s what he wrote:
“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJV
Think about this, “Do the words ‘whatever’ and ‘all’ really mean ‘whatever’ and ‘all’? Yes. A disciple’s whole life should be oriented toward glorifying God. Those words cover the workplace, leisure activities, routine errands, sports, social media, etc. They mean a trip to the grocery store can have eternal purpose. Have you ever prayed with someone in the grocery store? You could. If someone shares a deep burden, you could quietly pray with them right there on the cereal aisle; nothing dramatic, just a brief word. They may be surprised as much as you, and God gets glorified.
What routine activity will you be part of today that could bring glory to the Lord? Whatever you do…
Thankfully it’s not common to see one on the sidewalks, but there’s a lot of spiritual “banana peels” tossed onto a disciple’s path each day. The danger is getting too comfortable with their presence, which can lead to an unexpected “slip & fall”. Paul described it this way:
“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” – 1 Corinthians 10:12 NKJV
He continued with this thought as well regarding the familiar hazards around us:
“No temptation has overtaken you except such is common to man…” – 1 Corinthians 10:13a NKJV
The context of those comments (v. 12-13) is related to the story of the Hebrews in the Old Testament. He had just referenced them in verses 1-11 and their snares were familiar and forbidden, not sudden surprises. He finishes verse 13 with this:
“…but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape, that you may bear it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13b NKJV
Just because the path is familiar, don’t think a new “banana peel” isn’t waiting around the corner. Step carefully…