July 5, 2017
So don’t make judgements about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due (v.5).
READ: 1 Corinthians 4:1-16
The spot began as a small discolouration on the skirting board adjacent to one of our bedroom doors. Unsure of what caused it, we dismissed it as an unidentified spill. After a lengthy stretch of rainy days, however, the three inch spot had not only grown, but the skirting board on the opposite side of the door began to yellow as well. The bowing wood and the musty smell of damp carpet hastened our investigation, and we discovered that our original assessment had neglected to capture the full picture. Overflow from the rain had seeped into the doorframe of our back porch, resulting in damage that had now become plain to see.
We all see our own opinions quite clearly. We’re confident in assessing the reliability of what we see—especially in our appraisal of others. After all, we assure ourselves, we see what we see. Or do we?
In 1 Corinthians 3-4, Paul deals with a type of conflict that we still experience today among believers in Jesus: divisive, opinionated allegiance. We often fail to recognise our own limitations regarding the level of knowledge we possess. Paul’s admonishment of the Corinthian church is relevant: we’re not qualified to assess others because we rarely have total clarity of our own motives (4:2-4). Only God is qualified to evaluate and acknowledge what’s praiseworthy (v.5).
We desire security and sureness of truth, but setting our allegiances based on our human opinion is dangerous ground. Our perspective is limited, and even what insight we might possess is often not our own (v.7). True love for God is revealed in our sacrifices for the good of others, and the deeper proof of our wisdom is seen in our willingness to remain teachable (vv.9-16).
365-day plan: Luke 7:1-17
Read Mark 9:50 and consider what it means to have “the qualities of salt”, especially in how we interact with others.
How can we discern if our allegiances have been formed around the truths of Scripture or the opinions of people? How can trying to prove our opinions to others cause us to become prideful?