1 Corinthians is a roller-coaster letter. If it is your first time reading it, you might at times think to yourself, “these Corinthian Christians must be awesome.” Then you read a few more sentences… and find out soon enough that they had lots of issues that needed to be dealt with. Paul will prove to be both very loving and disciplinary with them.
A few days ago, Erik posted about the dangers of spiritual mentors turning into spiritual idols. This is just as common today as it was then. Paul addressed this idea in chapter one and again in today’s reading. This was such an important issue that it needed to be mentioned twice. Let’s be cautious about the over-exaltation of spiritual ‘superstars’. Appreciate them for their God-given roles and talents, but don’t turn them into a Baal. They were equipped to disciple you (v. 1-2) in your faith (whether via books, TV, blogs, pulpits, or in person).
Paul was one of the best disciplers in the Bible. He didn’t just feed the Corinthian believers fluffy compliments. He was willing to say hard things when necessary because he believed the Lord had better and more for them. He also knew the tension and balance of the ups and downs in the disciple-making process. They needed a tough, tender leader who could encourage and rebuke. And even in rebuke, he was gracious.
Though the Corinthians were rebellious in many ways, he was still thankful for them (ch. 1), complimentary and affirming of their previous growth (ch. 1-2), and pointed them to their only hope: Jesus Christ (ch. 1-3).
If you are discipling anyone right now in the faith, how are you doing in these areas? Are you thankful for the disciples entrusted to you even when they struggle? Do you affirm and build up those whom you are investing in? Do you always leave them with the hope and power found in Jesus? And are you willing to point out sin and say hard things?
What did you learn from today’s reading? Any discipleship/shepherding thoughts? Any thoughts on church life, discipline, and healthy Christian relationships? Let us know in the comments section.
By: Todd Thomas