July 9, 2012 by Chris French
It’s been a while since I’ve posted so I’m going to try to catch up in one post. I haven’t stopped reading thru the schedule of 100 Days I just haven’t had time to post any of my thoughts lately so I’m going to take a “buckshot” approach and quickly go thru some things that hit me from the text over the last week and a half or so.
In the opening chapter of 1st Corinthians Paul deals with the central issue of the Corinthian church: division. Some really like the way Paul preached, other liked Apollos’ preaching, some liked Peter and others didn’t like any of them, but claimed to follow Jesus’ teaching. What interests me is what Paul says in 1.17. Jesus didn’t send him to baptize, but to preach in the most fundamental way. Paul tells us that Apollos was a great speaker, but from Paul’s writing you can imagine that he didn’t have much of a problem convincing a crowd to follow his opinion. Dude was smart and well spoken! It would have been like taking candy from a baby, but Paul didn’t want people to follow him! His goal wasn’t to amaze people with his speaking skills or his storytelling ability. If he preached like that it could take away the POWER of the cross. The cross is powerful enough to convert people. I need to make sure I don’t try to win people over to Jesus by the use of my linguistic skills. If the cross doesn’t win them, nothing will!
Skip down to chapter 3. Paul tells them that when he first met the people in the church at Corinth that he couldn’t bring the meat of the word to them. He had to talk to them like they were spiritual babies. They weren’t ready to plunge the depths of Jesus just yet, and apparently they haven’t been growing in Paul’s absence. What I find interesting is the way Paul knows that they’re still spiritual babies. Check out verse 2-3.
“I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your sinful desires. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful desires?”
My jealousy proves that I’m still a baby in Christ. When was the last time you were jealous of someone? Paul says that my jealousy is a good barometer for how much I’m growing spiritually. When jealousy lives inside of me Satan’s got a pretty good foothold in my heart. I go thru stages where I’m jealous of others’ accomplishments. Next time I’ll see it for what it is: an attack. It’s times like these when you need to buckle down and draw closer to God (James 4.8). Since it’s an attack you need your armor. Don’t brush jealousy off as a small matter. Paul said he could tell how your faith was doing by how jealous you are. Fight back.