This week 1 Corinthians rocked my world! Often, we study single verses out of context, and they begin to reflect what is inside our hearts. When, we take the time to read through the whole letter, God uses his word to display himself into our hearts and supernatural healing begins.
See what I did there? Reflection is natural to humans. We were designed to reflect God’s glory as image bearers. We must admit, we are not God, even though we are made in his image. Like everything else, sin broke this too. Now that we know evil, we want to be God. It’s a constant struggle as we learn to submit our wills to God and to walk in the Spirit to reflect God and not ourselves. Psychologists call this projection, and it is very easy to project our thoughts, feelings, and motivations onto God, the scriptures, and even the people around us.
As I studied this week, God displayed his truth with clarity. Perhaps you have heard someone who hurt you say that you must look at her intentions. If it wasn’t her intention to hurt you, then you shouldn’t feel hurt. We, who believe that we are saved by faith alone, forget that our works display our salvation. Good works and obedience have a place in our faith. It matters how we live. It maters what we do. If we are judged by intentions alone, then how could God judge me? I intend to be obedient, but I keep messing up, even though I want to live right. The truth is that both matter, intentions and behavior. If my behavior harmed someone else, then I am responsible to apologize and make amends. Although, this person, who harmed me, may not have intended harm, however, she caused me deep pain that has taken three years for me to heal. God is good and faithful to heal us. Sometimes that healing happens now, and sometimes that healing will come in heaven, when God dries my tears and I see Kai again.
I can’t wait, but until then, God cautions me to be mindful of how I live.
Did you know that our works will be tested?
They will be tried by fire. If we have built with wood, hay, or straw, our good works will burn up, “the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved– even only as one escaping through the flames.”
Paul goes on to write, “Do not deceive yourselves. If any one you thinks you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. For wisdom of this world is foolishness in the God’s sight.”
I have gladly become a fool for Christ, so that I am humble to learn from him. In myself is self-righteousness and pride. In Christ is all wisdom and knowledge,” so that I may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.” I have learned this is a painful process at times. It means I give God the right to chip away parts of me that do not bring him glory. Sometimes, I like those parts because they have brought me comfort, but they are not from God. Sometimes, they are the very coping mechanisms that I have relied upon to endure abuse. However, if I continue to use these coping mechanisms, I will not grow in my knowledge of Christ. I will not be able to fellowship with him in suffering, and my good works will burn up. I will be as one who escaped a fire.
Meditation: Holiness 1 Corinthians 3:10-20
10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.
18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”[a]; 20 and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”[b]