Aaaaa time to breathe, God is good.
Today I picked up my Inductive Study Bible and decided to use it to read through I Corinthians. I had forgotten how cool it is to study this way. For those of you who may have never done this before, at the beginning of each chapter it tells you key phrases to look for, to mark the author of the book with one color and the recipients with another, what verses contain the reason for the writing of each book of the Bible and on and on. In the end there are areas in the back to write the 'theme' of each passage and what you took away from it so that in years to come, you can look back and at a glance see what you learned from each book of the Bible that you study. Very cool.
As always God was waiting on me to get there and revealed things I had either forgotten or never known, I LOVE learning new things about God and the struggles of the past. It makes me have hope for the future and for our fallen culture!!
The Corinthians basically worshiped Aphrodite (the goddess of love) - how convenient! Their culture bred such blatant immorality throughout Corinth that the Greek verb translated "to Corinthianize" meant to practice sexual immorality. (Maybe America translates the same way??) This was a pretty ugly openly sinful place for sure.
The Corinthians ate well, satisfied their sexual urges without condemnation, flirted with the wisdom of men, and did all they could to keep their bodies as beautiful as those of the Greek gods. What they needed was to know the Savior! And Paul was chosen as the guy to bring Him to them.
As I studied this first chapter I was reminded again that God is a God of opposites. He moves time after time through the most unlikely circumstances and people. Vs 25 says, "Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." and then in Vs 27 it says,"God has chosen the foolish things of this world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,"
I find this very encouraging and I love how over and over God slams pride, vs 29 "...so that no man may boast before God." Can you just see the very important people of earth standing before the thrown of God some day shocked that there is nothing worth boasting about? This is the sin in our lives that I tolerate the least, I know all sin is the same in God's eyes, and I know God despises arrogance. Any earthly arrogance is ridiculous really.
Maybe my sensitivity in this particular area stems out of watching all the fallen church leaders I have known along the way. In every single instance I personally experienced as a child in the church to this very day, when a leader begins to struggle it can be traced right back to pride. They want to do something their way, their position makes them prideful, they begin to take scripture and God's mandates out of context to suit themselves, it is very sad that arrogance can exist even among God's chosen. Pride seems to precede every fall from leadership!
In my most confident times, as I experience even a taste of success it doesn't take long before I mess up and have to laugh at the myself, usually out loud! (Ron's always giving me funny looks!)
I pray to God to maintain a discerning spirit toward pride, both in myself and with the teams I lead. Arrogance is something especially common in any performance related experience. That is what blesses me weekly as I see the humbleness of our Crossroads teams serving their God. Many having come out of secular musical experience, they are the ones that realize the most there is no lasting satisfaction in performance. I sometimes prefer those musicians because they have 'gotten it out of their system' so to speak and are very ready to invest in eternal things!
The first chapter of Corinthians is fascinating! Paul himself was once a man of earthly position and walked away from all the things he once held dear to follow God and tell others about Him!
Join me as I read through I Corinthians - tomorrow chapter 2!
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