Don’t feel awkward about reading someone else’s mail. As we get started with Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth, it might feel a little like we’ve invaded a personal relationship. Instead, feel the peace and grace of God that Paul wishes on the young church.
“I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you.” Paul is one of those Bible heroes that I look forward to having long conversations with some day. When I read his letters, I imagine he is writing to me, and that is exactly how we should approach Paul’s letters. It will also be helpful to think about what the original audience would have been thinking.
Much like us, the Corinthians were encountering corruption, sinful behaviors, and pressure to adapt. The church was being undermined by immorality and spiritual immaturity. Paul was concerned for these young Christians, and his letter should help us, too, navigate through some tough issues facing us today.
I don’t know about you, but I was comforted by these words of Paul. “Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.” They were eager, too, for Jesus’ return. Every generation since has been just as eager. I know I certainly am! So, it’s good to know we are prepared with the gifts we need while we wait.
Paul’s opening words were very encouraging to the people. He didn’t waste much time with normal pleasantries. He knew they were struggling with division. We all know how it feels to have differing opinions with those we love. It is painful when differing opinions break families apart, cause us to lose our jobs, or alienate us from our friends.
As Christ-followers, we have freedom and protection. “God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” That says to me that because God has called me into partnership with Jesus, I have a job to do. Just as God is faithful, we are called to be faithful and honor God with our actions.
We have exactly what we need. It’s like having the right supplies to make a cake. I love watching how the chefs on cooking shows always know exactly what ingredients work together to make the finished product. They always have exactly the ingredients they need at hand. I believe God has gifted us with the right gifts for what he wants us to do.
Our lives can be full (and tasty) when we focus on what we are called to do rather than struggle with satisfying the world. There is so much freedom in focusing only on what pleases God. It is exhausting to try and please people. They tend to be judgmental, bossy, and full of intentions that take us away from Jesus.
Be ready to be challenged by Paul as we walk through his first letter to the Corinthians. I’m excited to see what messages God’s word will reveal to you (and me). As always, I love hearing how the Holy Spirit is speaking to you through these passages. Don’t forget to join our Devotions on the Go! Facebook community. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ReflectionsDevo
Take some time today to reflect on the gifts and provisions God has given you. He has given you what you need. How are you going to respond?
Let’s pray …
Father God, thank you for how you have equipped me to walk through this life. Forgive me for those times when I have not used the gifts you have given me. Show me how to make the most of what you have provided for me. All praise goes to you God. In Jesus’ name. Amen.