BRP Insight Post for Monday, July 8, 2019
When I read the Bible, I try to let the Bible read me. What I mean by that is that I try to listen for anything that God might be trying to say to me through His word, asking Him to open my eyes and my heart to what He may want to show me. Sometimes it’s a deep reassurance of His presence with me and His love for me. Other times it’s a challenge to look at my life and see if it lines up with what I’m reading. 1 Corinthians 4 has two points of conviction and challenge for me that I want to share with you.
5 So don’t make judgments 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.
People outside of Christianity tend to think of Christians as being very judgmental. Unfortunately, they have lots of data to back that up. I think people in general tend to be “judgey” – judging you takes the spotlight off me and my own mess. But in this verse, Paul is reminding us that God is our ultimate judge and he will bring what’s in the dark into the light and reveal our true motivation. That’s both frightening and liberating to me. We can’t hide anything from God; He knows us better than we know ourselves. But there is freedom to be found in that, because God’s heart and intentions toward us are always for good, not to tear us down. He knows what is in the darkest recesses of our hearts but loves us anyway. Like any good parent, He wants us to be our best and reach our true potential, so if we let Him, He will pull up by the roots anything that’s keeping us from that.
16 So I urge you to imitate me.
Verse 16 is a solid litmus test if I’ve ever seen one. Some questions to ask ourselves: Do I feel comfortable asking anyone to imitate me? Why or why not? Does my life line up with Jesus to the point that I could truthfully say, ‘Follow me as I follow Christ?’
Earlier in chapter 4, Paul says that his conscience is clear before them and that God will ultimately examine him and decide if he’s on track or not. He’s so confident that he is following closely that he can say, “Imitate me.” For those of us that are parents, can we confidently tell our kids to imitate us? The reality is that they are whether our actions are worthy of being imitated or not. What about with our friends, neighbors or co-workers? Do they see something different in us, something that would make them desire to know what the difference is?
Being a follower of Christ comes with a responsibility to allow Him to mold and shape us, to restore us to our “factory settings”, guiding us to become what He created us to be. We imitate Him so others can imitate us.
Executive Director of Education and Outreach