Friday, February 3, 2017

Stop Acting Like a Child!

1 Corinthians 3
3 Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?

How many of you have ever had your mom or dad say to you, "You are acting like a child." I have to admit I heard this once or twice growing up. As Paul addresses the Corinthians, he is basically saying, "you are acting like children, not adults". He compares the Corinthians' to a baby who can only drink milk, and is not ready for meat. So often in Paul's writing, he teaches about what it means to grow to Christ-like maturity. He compares the Christian life with what it means to become a mature person in everyday life. We all know people who are old in age, but still very immature. They have never grown up. Unfortunately this happens in the church too.

So what is the cause of the Corinthians spiritual immaturity? Paul sums it up by saying, "You are still acting worldly!" Specifically they were quarreling and jealous of each other. A symptom of this was that they were taking sides based on who they followed, Paul or Apollos. Paul reminds them that they follow Christ, not any human being. This was a sign to Paul that they were focused on the wrong thing. When our eyes our fixed on Christ, human leaders take their proper place as servants of Christ. In fact, leaders who are grounded in Christ will quickly divert attention away from themselves, rather than allowing their flock to make this error.

Later Paul will say, "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God caused it to grow." Every leader has certain gifts, but no leader has all the gifts. To compare leaders to each other is unfair. You may find yourself more naturally attracted to some leaders rather than others, but when you start comparing leaders based on your personal preference it can lead to problems in the body of Christ. When we do this we limit the effectiveness and potential in the church. A church is only as healthy as each person has been empowered to serve in their own unique giftedness with their unique personality. That is the beauty in the church, its diversity which allows it to reach out to a diverse group of people.

If you look at your own life you probably have been influenced by a variety of people God has put in your life. They are all different and taught you different aspects of who Jesus is, but one is not better than another. Let's grow up and remember not to develop worldly attitudes by focusing on personalities rather the people God has called alongside of us to grow the kingdom.

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