Let yourself become open to God and the knowledge that comes from the Word. Ask God for peace at this time.
I Corinthians 4:14-20
I am not writing this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you might have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers. Indeed, in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. I appeal to you, then, be imitators of me. For this reason I sent you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ Jesus, as I teach them everywhere in every church. But some of you, thinking that I am not coming to you, have become arrogant. 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 depends not on talk but on power.
I’m so grateful for the church in Corinth. They are such a mess that it assures me that our mess is not outside of God’s grace. Paul’s writings to them are also a profound example of how to lead a church. He is frank, clear, and expresses high and noble expectations. He expects attitudes and actions to change. As one of my elders reminds me, “You don’t get what you want, you get what you measure.” And early in the epistle, Paul spells out some things he intends to measure regarding conflict, humility and power.
He also expresses love– not just “I will treat you right” love but loving affection. Some of us are very good at the discipline side of love but terrible of the affection side of love. Paul demonstrates both. Therefore, he’s not afraid to instruct them to “be imitators of me.” Obviously, Paul didn’t just believe the Gospel—he lived it. If our faith doesn’t reach our feet, then we are not in any shape to lead.
Faith is always action. It is only action. To hold some theological position or to accept some sublime truth is not faith. Faith is when truth takes hold of us to the point that we act on it, and when we do God’s grace flows. Paul didn’t just talk about love. He loved, and God worked in it.
Consider the interaction of faith and God’s grace in your own life. If you are a believer, then you’ve acted in faith, and you’ve seen God move. Paul wanted the immature Corinthians to act in faith knowing that it would release the power of God in their messy lives. Faith and love are actions that release God’s grace and prove that “the kingdom of God depends not on talk but on power.
Father, forgive us for acting as if we have no part to play (or for thinking that it all depends on us and our power!). Thank you for examples of lives lived in faith and for reminding us to act on what we believe. We have witnessed Your power at work through our faith; grant us grace to live that way again and always.
Go with God!