Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 12 May 20:
1 Corinthians 9:12 — “Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.”
Don’t let issues, disagreements and conflicts distract people from hearing the Gospel from you and witnessing the power of the Gospel in your life through your behavior. We are often called to surrender our rights for sake of the Gospel. (1 Corinthians 9:12)
Paul did not demand his rights before others because he didn’t want anything to detract from his preaching of the Gospel of Christ. He preferred to suffer maltreatment from others rather than risk any offense or conflict standing in the way of his message. Paul understood that the people who needed Jesus the most (his target audience) were the same people likely to hurt him the most. When Paul faced abuse, he didn’t respond accordingly, he displayed and shared the Gospel even more. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23)
“…but we endure….” Paul points out that self-control in our relationships and encounters with others takes great self-discipline, empowered by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 9:25). Sometimes everything within us wants to “put other people in their place,” or “give them what for,” but if we do, they may not hear another word we say.
– Colossians 3:12-17 — Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
– Galatians 6:1-3 — Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
– 1 Peter 4:8-19 — Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
Are you willing to quietly and patiently suffer maltreatment from others, responding only with love and the Gospel message that you may glorify God? “Pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 12 May 20: Show shocking love by not defending yourself against maltreatment and by responding to evil with good. Do this as an act of worship and as a testimony to others of the power of the Gospel. Think nothing of yourself, but preach the Gospel. Have the strength, courage, and faith to trust God to restore what is denied you by others. Don’t let an issue of maltreatment stand in the way or be a distraction from the Gospel. Remember, when you defend yourself, you make yourself and the issue the center of attention rather than Jesus. Deny yourself and take up your cross in that situation, and bear the burden of the offense against you as a gift to God and as an act of fellowship with Jesus who suffered and died on the Cross for you. (1 Corinthians 9:15-27)