SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- The Christians in Corinth had become prideful and arrogant (verse 6). They thought a lot of themselves, and looked down on Paul. He reminds them that yes, he is a servant but he is not to be undervalued. Ultimately, God is his and our final judge and he is not concerned with their judgment of him.
- He also warns them that they have no reason to be "puffed up." Everything they have, do, and are is because of God's grace, not anything they have done on their own.
- Paul explains in verses 8-13 that while they take pride in their power and wisdom, he takes the opposite approach to life, seeking to be a servant and a "fool for Christ." A fool for Jesus is someone who lives by the wisdom of God, even if it goes against human wisdom and looks stupid to other people.
- Paul then closes the chapter by speaking to them like a father. A father is loving, but sometimes stern when they care for their child's well-being. This is how Paul felt about Corinth. He had a spiritual influence on their lives, like being a spiritual father. He was so concerned about them that he sent Timothy to watch over them and to teach them more about the way of life in Jesus.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Every thing and every gift we have is from God. We should never be arrogant or prideful enough to think that our life is good because of us. We have done nothing to deserve the blessings in our life, let alone the air we breathe.
- We need to live for an audience of one. It's easy to obsess over what other people think of us and to live to please others. But people don't know our motives and our heart. Only God sees those things. And God is the only person that is going to judge us someday. So he is the only person that we need to care about and be concerned about.
- Just like we shouldn't worry about what others think of us, we also shouldn't judge others. If people don't know our motives, how can we possibly know theirs? Instead, we should focus on our own sins instead of the sins of others. (See Jesus' words in Matthew 7:1-5)
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Do you ever stop and think about all the amazing gifts you have in your life? Maybe you don't think you have any. But think again. Did you wake up this morning? Are you breathing? Did you eat something, anything? Did you watch the sunset? These are all gifts. If you haven't, take time today to thank God right now for both the big and little gifts in your life.
- Where are you living to please others? What would it look like in that area of your life if you focused only on what God thought of you? What would need to change?
- Where and in what ways do you find yourself judging others? What leads you to judge? Do you see how you can't really judge well, and why judgment belongs to God alone? What could you do to help you to trust God and stop judging others?