1 Corinthians 9 & 10
In today’s reading we encounter Paul giving an example of the difference between spiritual maturity and immaturity. In chapter 9 Paul illustrated this contrast by using the concern of some believers regarding his authority and whether if he had the same rights as other apostles. Paul first responded by giving his credentials as he stated his encounter with Jesus Christ and God’s command for him to spread the Good News. Paul next established that he chose to forego his rights of being supported, not in order to boast but to exemplify his understanding that God gave him a responsibility to communicate the Gospel. Paul calls on believers, even in today’s time, to understand the sacrifices they must make in order to serve God effectively. The apostle goes on to illustrate that with spiritual maturity one should seek ways to reach others with the God News. Five points to effective evangelism are taken from this scripture: 1) find common ground 2) don’t be indifferent or judgmental 3) be sensitive to others needs or perspective 4) look to share the word and 5) talk at their level.
In chap 10, Paul addressed spiritual immaturity by illustrating the poor attitudes and disobedience of the early Israelites. Their poor choices were done even though they were united under Moses and had God’s presence right before them. He pointed out that idolatry and sexual immorality destroyed many in the desert. In making it relevant to the people, Paul warned them about abusing their new freedom, found in believing in Jesus Christ. He went back to the question about eating meat used in idol ceremonies. Paul urged that believers were not able to do whatever they wanted. The actions of followers of Christ should be focused on building others up not causing confusion or animosity. One of the greatest statements is found in this chapter, as Paul summed up, “whatever you do, do it for the glory of God”.
It is sometimes said there is a fine line between freedom and anarchy. As Christians we need to be mindful that in accepting Christ as our Savior, it does not give us a free pass to act a certain way, to talk down to people, watch or read certain material or participate in certain activities. On the contrary, we are to be born anew and be a light onto others. We are to mature in our relationship with Christ.