By Brooke Holt
“But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?” 1 Corinthians 3:1-3
God did not call the Apostle Paul to marriage and childrearing in this world. However, that did not mean Paul was not a father to many spiritual sons and daughters. As an ambassador of Christ and church planter, Paul planted at least five churches: Galatia, Philippi, Thessalonica, Corinth, and Ephesus. Planting the church might have been the easy part. Helping that church continue to grow and thrive in the teachings of Jesus provided plenty of challenges.
In this portion of Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth, he reprimands them for their spiritual immaturity. Though they had been taught good doctrine, been trained in the Scriptures, and knew the calling of Jesus for their lives, they were not living as redeemed people. Instead, Paul talks about the jealousy and strife among them as well as all the fleshly behaviors that were contrary to the teaching of Christ.
Paul grieves their behavior as one would grieve the behavior of their children. Why? Because Paul loved these people. More importantly, Paul grieved their behavior because he knew how fervently the Lord loved these people. The Lord and Paul longed for the church in Corinth to live faithfully, to reflect the teachings of Jesus Christ in this world, and to experience the peace and joy of Christian community. As Paul wrote, they were depriving themselves of these spiritual blessings by clinging to their fleshly desires and ways.
Paul wrote to remind the beloved church what they had been taught. The Gospel message of Jesus Christ was to stand as their bedrock for life and community in this world. That meant turning from the flesh and living in the power of the Holy Spirit.
As a good father would do, Paul reprimands his spiritual children from a place of love. The Lord would do the same for you today. Are you living into the fullness of godly character by turning from the fleshly appetites to the ways of the Holy Spirit? And what about your Christian community? Are you, as a corporate body, behaving as those who have been set apart from this world?
The Lord would have you partake today of solid food – the nourishment of his Word, truth, and godly fellowship.
Just like the church in Corinth, you have been entrusted with the Gospel message. You have been fed spiritual milk and must now partake of the solid food in the faith. Are you receiving the nourishment of the Lord, growing in that truth, and then manifesting the Gospel to the world? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
The Crucified Life small group Christian study is designed to reflect upon the Seven Last Words of Christ from the cross and what they mean for us today. Walk the road of Calvary with Jesus in order to grow closer to Him. The Crucified Life small group study examines human suffering as it is mirrored in Christ’s suffering on the cross and what His seven last words say to a hurting world. Find out incredible insights into these words as Jesus teaches us, even in death, how we can use our suffering and triumph over it for His glory. Begin your Crucified Life today.
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