Seeking the Good of Others

Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, bearing this inscription: The Lord knows those who are his, and let everyone who calls on the name of the Lord turn away from wickedness.

2 Timothy 2:19

This week the Wine Women & the Word bible study read week 2 of the She Reads Truth study. It continues to impress me how blunt and straight forward Paul is. I know it’s true in my own life that sometimes the most obvious things can in fact not be that obvious at all. Or worse, we know the truth and choose to believe it doesn’t apply to us.

I’m enjoying imagining myself as a student of Paul’s. I’ve considered greatly what it means to imitate Christ and to have Godly wisdom guide my decisions and actions. He gives good instruction on keeping my marriage healthy by fully dedicating myself to it. His advice on living well, so as not to lead my fellow friends and family astray, is important.

The way we speak (or don’t speak), the way we act (or react), the things we dedicate our time to (or waste our time doing), the kindness (or hostility) towards others…all these actions speak volumes.

I encourage you to go through your week and think about what kind of example you set. I know we can all be a beacon of light, servant hearted and loving to all because everyone we meet is worth receiving that.

 



1 Corinthians Chapters 6-10

(spark notes edition)

  • Settle lawsuits among Christians and before the righteous
    • 1 Corinthians 6:12 Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims. (The Message)
  • Live in Peace
    • Words to the married and unmarried. Finding peace together so you may work it out in the hard times. Pleasing each other in your marriage, working on all things together.
    • What to do when it doesn’t work out.
  • Don’t cause your brother or sister to fall
    • Living in a way pleasing to God and being a good example for young believers.
    • 2 Timothy 2:15-18 Repeat these basic essentials over and over to God’s people. Warn them before God against pious nitpicking, which chips away at the faith. It just wears everyone out. Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple. Stay clear of pious talk that is only talk. Words are not mere words, you know. If they’re not backed by a godly life, they accumulate as poison in the soul. (The Message)
  • Imitate Christ
    • 1 corinthians 11:1-2 It pleases me that you continue to remember and honor me by keeping up the traditions of the faith I taught you. All actual authority stems from Christ. (The Message)

 

 

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Managers of the Mysteries of God

1 Corinthians chapters 1-5, Week 1

This is the first full week of reading She Reads Truth’s 1 & 2 Corinthian’s bible study! My Wine Women and the Word gals have been reading and preparing to chit chat over some wine and the teachings of Paul.

First, props to Paul for just laying it all out there. There was no beating around the bush, not intricately constructing of words, no nonsense…this man fiercely wanted to get a message across to the Corinthians by all means necessary.

Our readings this week dealt with power, false wisdom, spiritual wisdom, foolishness, servanthood, our calling, humility and discipline. Yeah…that sounds like a lot. Paul knew the tendency of the Corinthians towards self centeredness and self sufficiency and has swooped in to set the record straight. As human beings we are all prone to this lifestyle and listening to Paul was pretty humbling.

Paul tells us

God is faithful; you were called by him into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Corinthians 1:9

It starts out simple. Fellowship is when you associate with people who share a common interest. Jesus died, we follow his teachings, we are saved. BOOM DONE. Yeah it can be that simple, but we humans like to complicate things with our selfishness, hence Paul talking to the Corinithians. The Jews and the Greeks especially had a hard time accepting Christ. Jews found weakness in Jesus’ death and the Greeks, who dwelled upon the wisdom per their culture, found Christ’s death to be nonsensical.

It’s really easy to see where they are coming from. Belief in something that is unseen takes inordinate amounts of faith. No, we can’t just download the answer to life in Christ and install it into our brains. We can’t google our way to eternity. It takes a quiet listening to the Holy Spirit speaking within you, it takes stepping away from what the world deems as important. It makes you step off the religion cliff, trusting that by following God we will be safely caught in a net before we crash and burn. The non-followers of Corinth could not make sense of this leap of faith and deemed it foolishness.

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who don’t believe, but it is the power of God to us who are being saved.

1  Corinthians 1:18

Paul sees the Corinthians have fallen victim to worldly distractions. They’re getting wrapped up in titles, in who they serve, which church they follow or what person they study under. Paul says

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave growth.

1 Corinthians 2:6

It is not an allegiance to any teacher, it is only God that matters. Teachers and bible studies can supplement, but they are not the main focus. They are merely tools in helping spread the word. We may strongly support global missions, feeding the poor or funding missionaries, but it is important to remember that though those things are good, they are merely ornaments on the life we are building. The foundation is God and can be nothing else.

In 1 Corinthians 4, Paul says something I love: His Grace is your qualification. I have a tendency to feel inadequate when measured up to successful and smart people. Lies creep in: Who am I to be leading a bible study? Why am I attempting to give advice? Am I qualified to spread the good news of Christ? WHAT IF I GET IT WRONG? Paul reminds the Corinthians that whether we are newbies or lifetime scholars of the bible, we all qualified. We have all been given the same mission:

A person should think of us in this way; as servants of Christ and managers of the mysteries of God.

1 Corinthians 4:1

Ok how cool is that? “Managers of the mysteries of God.” That’s going on my resume. It’s important to remember that no matter where you are in your faith you are already fulfilling your mission. If you believe, if you live a life worthy of God’s teachings, if you humble yourself and make Christ the center then you are already showing the world that there is something more important worth living for. You are ministering simply by living.

When you follow God your world shifts. You may do many of the same things, but your purpose shifts. Suddenly we are called to love unconditionally, to give, to serve, to not judge others, to live by God’s word and to model it for others. We no longer become the center of our own lives, Christ does. This often means others do too, as we are called to serve others as Christ served others. We are called to be humble, kind, strong, truthful, to learn and to listen to the whispers of the Holy Spirit (even when we don’t want to).

When I think about it this way it sounds simple. It makes all the premeditated instagram posts, the constant resume builders, or the worldly desires I have fall away on a heap beside me. When we put on humility, love and discipline we have nothing to fear from others or the world. It makes me want to run through a field of flowers and joyfully shout that God has GOT THIS. Most of all, it makes me want to keep reading Week 2 of the study…I’m soaking this up like a sponge and can’t wait to see what comes next.

Questions to consider this week:

  1. What righteous thing do I put as more important than God or the Holy Spirit? Is it my own understanding? Is it the teachings of a favorite pastor or author? Evaluate: is God my center?
  2. How is the foolish teachings of the world clouding my judgment? What thing, though it may seem logical, is holding me back from firmly grasping God’s truth?

 

I’d love to know your answers 🙂

~Shelby