It’s not easy, by any means, but it IS what God asks of us . . . Jesus lead us by example, and Paul shared with us in his letter to the Corinthian Church. Let’s take a closer look at 1 Corinthians 4
When people acted hateful towards Jesus, think about it, did Jesus lash out back at them? No, of course not!
How many times people also acted spitefully against Paul as well, and yet he, too, did not respond in kind. No, he responded as he in the same way as Christ. As he was taught by the leading of Holy Spirit, through The the example of the life of Christ.
Was Paul perfect? Of course not!!! Only Christ is perfect! He is God! We cannot put one another up on a pedestal, but we can admire the example that their life of faith and trust brought us. Remember his comment, also to the Corinthians, “Be imitators of me, just as I am of Christ.” Paul ALWAYS pointed to Christ as his example. He remembered where he came from, his zeal, his wrong zeal, and how Christ took that passion, changed his name from Saul to Paul (actually from great to small, but used him mightily) and placed him on the path He had chosen for him! HALLELUJAH!
So . . . Let’s ask ourselves the hard questions and take an HONEST REFLECTION of inside of our hearts . . . are you ready? I suggest you take a note book and write out the questions and then your responses – honestly, from your heart – we will discuss them more afterwards.
- When someone says something about me behind my back and I find out about it . . . the next time I see that person, how do I act towards that person?
- If I have been falsely accused by someone, at work or school (or anywhere, for that matter), what is my normal reaction?
- If I have spoken too quickly, judging a person without the facts and have found out I was wrong, what do I do?
- If someone has wronged me and asks for forgiveness – do I demand restitution, seek revenge, or have compassion and forgive?
- Have I ever tried to place myself in the other person’s shoes to see the woundedness that they have walked in, to feel the pain that they have suffered through, tried to understand why they are acting and reacting to things they way they are? . . . or is it ALWAYS about ME???
Once you have your answers, I suggest that we take some time and lay our answers out before the Lord. Ask Him to reveal the meaning of them . . . open up the eyes of our understanding . . . reveal our hearts to ourselves . . . where do we REALLY stand with Him? Do we truly represent Him to the world? Are we REALLY imitators of Him to this world as Paul suggests we be?
You know, as I was reading, specifically verses 12 and 13 in 1 Corinthians 4, I started to look up some of the Greek words used in the original text for further clarification. I wanted to understand what the Lord was speaking into my heart here through Paul. WOW, did I get a revelation! Here are two examples:
The word reviled (in verse 12) refers to something that others do to us . . . that word in the Greek is # 3058 in the Strong’s Concordance meaning to revile, reproach, mock, dishonor, to make a spectacle of, to ridicule, etc. …. I can honestly say this has happened to me on a more than a few occasions!
Paul’s response to those actions? Did you notice what he said? Look at it . . . “we bless” . . . that’s right . . . he said, “WE BLESS” . . . is that your reaction, is it mine?
The second word I looked up was conciliate (in verse 13) which refers to something that we do towards others when they have slandered us. This is # 3870 in the Strong’s Concordance which means (oh my goodness, are you ready for this?) to call near, to entreat, to comfort, to pray for, exhort, encourage, etc. . . . whoa! is that your reaction, is it mine?
I don’t know about you, dear ones, but for me, I realize that being Christ-minded, Christ-like . . . well . . . I have a lot more growing to do than I thought!
Abba Father, I am truly humbled by that which You have revealed to me this day and I lay myself upon Your altar asking You to burn away even more of that which is not of You within this darkened soul of mine. I desire to be more like You yet find that I have so far to go . . . continue to reveal more of the areas that I need to change and walk contrary to the circumstances that life throws my way in Jesus Name, amen.