1 Corinthians 4:1-13 – How Are You Treated?

Read 1 Corinthians 4:1-13

faithfulness

Are you vocal about your faith or do you keep it quiet? Many people feel it’s “safer” to keep their faith under wraps when it comes to their public life. Our private lives are a different story. What happens behind closed doors is just that–unseen by others. In essence, we are keeping the best “secret” of all hidden. How does that make sense?

Jesus’ saving grace is available for all. Why aren’t we shouting it from the rooftops? Why? Because somebody would probably call the cops or admissions at the “funny farm.” Sadly, we’ve all seen people who are overly enthusiastic about their faith and their actions are anything but “attractive.” Even to us as fellow believers!

While my Christian walk is not a business, the way I live my life is sort of like “marketing” for Jesus. Reflecting Jesus’ character in business sounds good, but many people are afraid. We want our behaviors to be attractive and honoring to God.

How did it make you feel to see that Paul struggled with feeling abused for his faith? He didn’t keep it hidden. Once converted, he boldly proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ. He knew it was his mission to spread the gospel to the world. Don’t we know that as “our” mission, too? I don’t see too many “Pauls” out there these days, do you?

Paul clearly says, “a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful.” Our faithfulness is the starting point. What does that mean exactly? I understand it as being loyal to Jesus Christ and not backing down when questioned. Especially when we step out in faith!

How do we know the limits? It’s the “Lord himself who will examine me and decide.” I would think it’s better to err on the side of excess devotion. If we are sharing about our faith as our personal relationship with Jesus, nobody can question that. It’s ours. We need not worry about what people think, but only what God thinks. Easier said than done!

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to the day when “God will give to each one whatever praise is due.” I want him to be pleased with me and how I have responded to is grace and mercy. I picture Matthew 25:23 being acted out between me and Jesus. “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!”

With how believers are being received in certain groups these days, how would you respond if asked, “How is the world treating you?” As followers of Christ we are not expecting to be respected by all. Are you being authentically transparent about your faith? If so, congratulations! If not, why not? Does fear hold you back from letting people see the “real” you?

Paul gets a little sarcastic with his readers. “You think you already have everything you need. You think you are already rich.” As if they could even fathom all that God had in mind for them. It’s not a life without affliction, but it is a life of provision and seeing God’s rescuing touch again and again.

We aren’t promised a problem free existence if we are bold in our faith. In fact, just the opposite. I feel like I am in good company when I see what Paul says. “Yet we are treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash—right up to the present moment.” I could say that as Christians we might face situations like that.

I’ve been told I’m not welcome to come to certain events because of my faith. The event handlers were sorry, but they could not favor any religion and hoped I understood. You know, part of me wants to storm the event because getting the Word of God into people’s hands and hearts must happen for this world to look brighter.

When are we going to stop being “careful” not to offend when sharing “our” faith? It’s ours, we’re not strong arming anyone to believe the same. We’re praying instead that God will use us and do the convincing for us! Be courageous today!

praying hands looking up

Let’s pray …
Father God, thank you for how you are working in my life. Continue to give me the boldness I need to proclaim your majesty. My heart breaks when I am judged for loving you, not because my feelings are hurt but because people are rejecting you when they reject me. They are missing out on such a grace-filled life. Continue to nurture my faith and help me not to back down. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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