SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Paul warns the Corinthians that they are acting spiritually immature, kind of like an infant. They are being influenced by the world and it's leading to jealousy and quarreling. What were they quarreling about? People were lining up behind different church leaders to follow them, instead of Jesus. This hero worship was causing arguments and Paul wanted to put a stop to it.
- Paul reminds them that these men they follow are just servants appointed by God to help point them toward Jesus. They are just workers sent to plant and water, but ultimately, God is responsible for the growth of people and His church.
- Paul uses a metaphor in verses 10-17. The work the teachers and leaders do in people's lives is like building a temple. The builders need to be very careful that their foundation is Jesus so the building will last. Any other foundation will not endure.
- Paul closes the chapter by encouraging the Corinthians that they belong to Christ and that God's spirit lives within them. As a result, they should choose to live by God's wisdom, which is contrary to the ways of this world and may seem foolish to others, but it is right and true.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Paul begins by complaining that the Corinthians are still living like spiritual babies since the last time he saw them. Ouch. Babies are cute. But there is definitely something wrong if the baby stops growing. Our faith should be viewed in the same way. If we are not constantly growing we need to stop, figure out why, and go to God for help.
- Paul also complains that the Christians in Corinth are "acting like mere men." That may seem odd, since they were in fact men and women. But what he is actually saying is that they were living like the rest of the world and that is not ok. When people give their lives to God, He gives His Spirit to them. They then have God living in them, and He lives His life through them. Human beings who have God can then live beyond "mere human."
- God's path for every Christian is to grow in their maturity, so they can become more like God and more of a leader for Him. Someday God wants you to be a leader in His movement. When that happens be careful how you lead. Make sure the foundation is always Jesus, and that you're using Godly wisdom, so your work will have true impact and will last.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Are you living like a baby or an adult? In your life are you guided by human wisdom, making typical human decisions, driven by human desires and goals, using the "I'm only human" excuse for your sins and short-comings? If so, it's time to realize that you can be better than that. And it won't be you. It will be God living through you. In another one of his letters, Paul wrote, "I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." You can choose to give your life to God, connect deeply with Him daily, and invite Him in to live His life through you. You will have power you've never had to live the kind of life you never could!