Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 11 May 21:
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.
“…but we endure….” Paul points out that self-control in our relationships and encounters with others takes great self-discipline, patience, endurance, and perseverance 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 they deserve,” but if we do, they may not hear another word we say.
- 1 Per 2:22-23 — He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.
- Hebrews 12:1-4 — Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In our struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
- Philippians 2:3-8 — Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
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) – 11 May 21: 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)