Being and Becoming Christian
Who doesn’t want to do a task well? My mom used to tell me often, if you are not going to do it well, then why bother doing it at all? Yes, she was a perfectionist. Growing up, I was trained that even making a bed could be done well, with “hospital corners” and straight seems. I still think of her briefly when I make a bed. Silly, isn’t it? But underneath the surface, of training me to do household chores, was the motivation of teaching me a right attitude to have while doing it. She always wanted to do the best for her family.
Paul does the same for the Corinthians…and us. With clarity and simple teaching, in ways we all understand it, he outlines WHO we are, WHO we belong it, WHAT our part is in the Body of Christ, and HOW we are to love. His “sermon” was perfectly outlined with presenting the “should” with a “how”. So, there is no stone left unturned in our understanding of “the most excellent way.
Remember the background information of chapter 12?
–“Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits.”
–“You are Christ’s body–that’s who you are!”
–“Only as you accept your part of that body does your ‘part’ mean anything.”
–Stop competing for the so-called “important parts”.
Paul stops in the middle of his letter to remind us HOW our part responds to the whole…from the root of God’s love deeply embedded in our hard drives! For without love, all we say we are, all we do “for the Lord”, is nothing but empty words and actions.
We serve because we love. Simple, yet profound. Love gets lost in our busyness of life. Deeds become automatic. Whining takes the place of blessings for doing a work well, in “the most excellent way”. So, if this was important for Paul to lay out this “far better way” for the Corinthian church, then it is probably good for us to go over this again…
1 Corinthians 13, The Message
The Way of Love
13 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
2 If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
8-10 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
11 When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
What do we learn?
–Trust steadily in God, Hope unswervingly, Love extravagantly.
Dear Heavenly Father, Your Word, expressed through Paul to Your Body, read at so many weddings, is filled with profound Truth about being and becoming maturing Christians. YOUR love for us is excellent, unconditional, forgiving, and is the supreme example of how we should love others. Help us to mature in Your love. In Jesus Name, Amen