Discipline

Today I’m taking a look a 1 Corinthians 11:32:

But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

(1 Corinthians 11:32 ESV)

Most of us don’t like discipline.  It usually hurts or is tough to go through.  But, it is something we need and, in fact, if we don’t have it, we should be very concerned.

A couple of points from this passage…

1) Discipline comes from the Lord.  “But when we are judged by the Lord” points this out.  Discipline comes as the result of God judging our behavior or performance.

2) Discipline shows that we belong to God.  My favorite passage relating to this comes from Hebrews 12:

For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”  It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
(Hebrews 12:6-7 ESV)

In the same way a loving parent would discipline his child, God the Father disciplines His children.  He doesn’t discipline His children as punishment for their sins – Jesus paid for our sins on the cross.  He disciplines us to teach us, to help us.

If God is disciplining me, He is teaching me something.  Oh Lord, please help me to learn from your discipline so that I may honor you more!

All Things to All People

I’m continuing my read through 1 Corinthians and today I passed through chapter 9.  In this chapter, Paul lays out his rights, but then surrenders them all, choosing rather to honor Christ.  A couple of excerpts:

If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more?  Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.
(1 Corinthians 9:12 ESV)

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.
(1 Corinthians 9:19 ESV)

In this passage, Paul is identifying his rights as a laborer for the Lord.  It was obvious the he had accumulated certain benefits, yet he decided to not use them.  Why?  He would rather “endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.”

I can go ahead and tell you that I struggle with this – everyday.  I so busy in the struggle for my rights.  My right for you to drive the way I want you to on the highway.  My right for you to hurry with your order in the fast food line so I can be served.  My right for you to behave as I want you to, even though you don’t know me and don’t know how I want you to act.

In the business of life, I forget where my hope is placed.

But, thankfully, Paul reminds us and helps us keep our perspective.  For example in Philippians, he writes this:

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
(Philippians 1:21 ESV)

Our hope is in Christ.  Because He has saved us, we are free to live for Him.  We love Him and want to obey Him.  And one of His commands is that we share His good news.  Therefore, Paul can write, as he did in v. 19 above “I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.”  A servant to all that he might win more of them.  Think about that.

So, on this Saturday morning as I take a breather from the last five days and then prepare to hit the fast lane again until bedtime tonight, I need to focus on these words…I need to be a servant to all that I might win more of them.

Now, it should also be clear that it’s not Paul, or you, or me that “wins” – i.e. goes to the cross to pay for sins, but here “winning” means delivering the good news, sharing the gospel, letting the Lord be on display as we live our lives.  Or as Paul writes in v. 22:

To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.
(1 Corinthians 9:22 ESV)

Where Does My Faith Rest?

Today, in my daily Bible reading, I read through 1 Corinthians chapter two and stuck on this in verse 5:

“That your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

And it got me thinking, where does my faith rest?  Does it rest in the “wisdom of men” or in the “power of God?”

It is so easy in this day and time to rest in the wisdom of men.  Let’s face it, it’s what must of us grow up in and and we’re comfortable with it.  It’s easy to fall back on what we know.  Unfortunately, as this passage notes, the wisdom of men is the opposite of God.

I have lunch scheduled this week with a business acquaintance that has moved to town because of a new job.  When he relocated, he contacted me to let me know he was in town and I invited him to lunch.  As I said, we’re acquaintances, not really friends, but I thought it would be nice for him to see a familiar face.

I’m pretty sure that this guy doesn’t share my beliefs, and while that doesn’t change my desire to be friends with him, I would like for him to know Jesus Christ.  And this lunch makes me wonder…will I rest in the wisdom of men or will I rest in the power of God?  Will I be ashamed of Jesus or will I somehow be able to share the greatest thing of all?  I pray that I will rest in the power of God.