Being and Becoming Christian
As soon as we have children we find out they do not come with instructions. They do not take care of themselves either. They make messes and they do not clean up after themselves. Why? These messy little beings need us to help them. They need lots of someones to teach them how to mop, wipe, and scrub and live orderly lives while they grow up and mature. Someday they will be teachers of their own children. We love our children so we teach them by example, actions and a lot of words.
Our words must fit the example we live for them to really “get it”. Most of all, we love them always, unconditionally, in spite of the messes and bend down to help them as they learn. We cannot expect our children to be where we are now, thinking with maturity. All lessons are taught best by doing it WITH them, coming alongside them as they learn to make a bed, pick up a room, help someone in need, pick up crumbs and generally lend a hand to the household management team.
Kids are smart but they still have to be taught how to live, how to behave, how to treat others, and how to love God and others with all their heart, mind and soul.
Paul knew that when people become new Christians, they don’t at the same moment become nice. This always comes as something of a surprise. Conversion to Christ and his ways doesn’t automatically furnish a person with impeccable manners and suitable morals.
The people of Corinth had a reputation in the ancient world as an unruly, hard-drinking, sexually promiscuous bunch of people. When Paul arrived with the Message and many of them become believers in Jesus, they brought their reputations with them right into the church.
Paul spent a year and a half with them as their pastor, going over the Message of the “good news” in detail, showing them how to live out this new life of salvation and holiness as a community of believers. Then he went on his way to other towns and churches.
After awhile things fell apart, so Paul writes a perfect pastoral letter of response to his fellow brothers and sisters reminding them of who they are in Christ and how they are to live. In other words, “let’s go over this again…”
Paul doesn’t disown them as brother and sister Christians, doesn’t’ throw them out because of their bad behavior, and doesn’t fly into a tirade over their irresponsible ways. He takes it all in stride, but also takes them by the hand and goes over all the old ground again, directing them in how to work all the glorious details of God’s saving love into their love for one another.
We as believers, young and old, need to go over this again as society affects the church more than the church affects society in our world today. There is not a lot of difference between the world of the Corinthians and our world of problems to day.
So…let’s go over this again, bite by bite. Listen the Holy Spirit speak to our hearts as we read each morning. Allow Paul to be our pastor and for the Holy Spirit to convict and guide us to be better today than we were yesterday. We are always becoming. We have not arrived.
“Every time I think of you…I thank God for you.” 1 Cor 1
Dear Heavenly Father, Your Word is always timely with just what we need to read and meditate on as we give our lives over to You each morning. May our bad manners dissolve as we love You more which leads to loving others better. In Jesus Name, Amen