Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 9 May 2022:
Numbers 10:8, 9 – “The trumpets shall be to you for a perpetual statute throughout your generations. And when you go to war in your land against the adversary who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, that you may be remembered before the Lord your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies.”
God’s plan is that all of God’s people would be ready to respond to the call to support one another through adversity. How well is the global church today working together to protect the global body from adversaries?
Numbers 10:12 – “…and the people of Israel set out by stages from the wilderness of Sinai.”
Millions of God’s people moved in a very organized fashion, based upon the plan that they had established under God’s direction. The church cannot function with unity of effort and action if it doesn’t have a plan to do so, if every person doesn’t understand their specific duties and responsibilities as part of the larger whole.
Numbers 10:31 – “And he said, ‘Please do not leave us, for you know where we should camp in the wilderness, and you will serve as eyes for us.’”
The people followed the cloud of the Lord, but God also used Moses’ father-in-law to instruct the people in some specifics. God leads us in many ways, often though other godly people who have knowledge and skills that we do not have. God intentionally made us relational, to rely on Him and others.
1 Corinthians 3:1-4 — “But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?”
God’s word says, “Grow up!” An adult can’t help but be an adult, but they can still act like a child. Certainly you have known adults who failed to mature in some area of their lives as expected of an adult and subsequently limited the effectiveness of their lives and robbed themselves of the fullness of life. Similarly, a Christian can’t help but be spiritual but can act worldly, failing to mature in sanctification, and remaining an “infant in Christ,” incapable of experiencing the life of an adult in Christ. We know that adults experience far more in life than children do. Are you living a full, mature, spiritual life, or are you letting worldliness get in the way? One of the easiest tests of your spiritual maturity is the quality of your relationships with others, particularly with those closest to you. If there is strife or separation, immaturity remains.
You will either act spiritually or carnally (like an animal) in any given situation. Selfishness reduces you to the same motivators to which animals and infants respond.
1 Corinthians 3:2-4 — “And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not being merely human?”
The Corinthians were not maturing in their faith because they were still acting worldly. They were doing what was “natural,” in ways you would expect ordinary people to act, rather than what was “supernatural” in ways we should expect someone to act who has the Holy Spirit inspiring them, empowering them, and guiding them. You may say you are “naturally” impatient, cynical, or (insert negative trait here), but God works in the supernatural realm. We are not called by be “merely human.” We are called (and enabled) to be truly Christlike:
- Romans 8:28-29 — And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
- Galatians 2:20 — I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
- 2 Corinthians 5:17 — Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
- 1 John 2:6 — Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
- Matthew 5:48 — You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
- 2 Corinthians 3:18 — And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
- 1 Peter 2:21 — For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
- 1 Corinthians 11:1 — Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
- Ephesians 5:1-2 — Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
- Ephesians 4:22-24 — To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
- John 13:13-17 — You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
- John 14:15 — If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
- Titus 3:1-8 — Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, …
- Galatians 3:27 — For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
- Philippians 2:5 — Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.
- Matthew 11:29 — Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
- Romans 12:2 — Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
- Luke 6:46 — “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?
- Romans 8:2-8 — For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. …
- Ephesians 2:10 — For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
1 Corinthians 3:3 — …for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?
“A child of the light will confess sin instantly and stand completely open before God. But a child of the darkness will say, ‘Oh, I can explain that.’ When the light shines and the Spirit brings conviction of sin, be a child of the light. Confess your wrongdoing, and God will deal with it. If, however, you try to vindicate yourself, you prove yourself to be a child of the darkness.
What is the proof that carnality has gone? Never deceive yourself; when carnality is gone you will know it— it is the most real thing you can imagine. And God will see to it that you have a number of opportunities to prove to yourself the miracle of His grace. The proof is in a very practical test. You will find yourself saying, “If this had happened before, I would have had the spirit of resentment!” And you will never cease to be the most amazed person on earth at what God has done for you on the inside.” (Oswald Chambers)
1 Corinthians 3:7 — “Only God who gives the growth.”
We are but messengers of God’s word. The Holy Spirit does all the convicting and convincing.
1 Corinthians 3:9 — For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.
“Beware of any work for God that causes or allows you to avoid concentrating on Him. A great number of Christian workers worship their work. The only concern of Christian workers should be their concentration on God. This will mean that all the other boundaries of life, whether they are mental, moral, or spiritual limits, are completely free with the freedom God gives His child; that is, a worshiping child, not a wayward one. A worker who lacks this serious controlling emphasis of concentration on God is apt to become overly burdened by his work. He is a slave to his own limits, having no freedom of his body, mind, or spirit. Consequently, he becomes burned out and defeated. There is no freedom and no delight in life at all. His nerves, mind, and heart are so overwhelmed that God’s blessing cannot rest on him.
But the opposite case is equally true– once our concentration is on God, all the limits of our life are free and under the control and mastery of God alone. There is no longer any responsibility on you for the work. The only responsibility you have is to stay in living constant touch with God, and to see that you allow nothing to hinder your cooperation with Him. The freedom that comes after sanctification is the freedom of a child, and the things that used to hold your life down are gone. But be careful to remember that you have been freed for only one thing– to be absolutely devoted to your co-Worker.
We have no right to decide where we should be placed, or to have preconceived ideas as to what God is preparing us to do. God engineers everything; and wherever He places us, our one supreme goal should be to pour out our lives in wholehearted devotion to Him in that particular work. ‘Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might…’ (Ecclesiastes 9:10).” (Oswald Chambers)
1 Corinthians 3:10-15 — Everything we do outside of genuine, selfless service for Jesus Christ, as a true disciple, is worthless. All that we do for self is meaningless, regardless of how much we say it was really for Jesus.
1 Corinthians 3:19 — “For the wisdom of this world is folly with God.”
Just obey and teach God’s simple word. You don’t need to be clever, just faithful.
1 Corinthians 16:21 — “So let no one boast in men.”
It is VERY tempting for Christians to focus on popular preachers, pastors, professors, or politicians more than Jesus, to proclaim their person’s name more than Jesus, and to identify with a church or other organization rather than with Jesus. Don’t tell people about your pastor; tell them about Jesus. Don’t just invite people to your church, invite them to know Jesus.
1 Corinthians 3:16-22 — Don’t build with the world’s wisdom.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 9 May 22: Pay attention to your first responses to crisis, conflict, or strife. Do you at times think or act negatively and then say, “Well I am not really like that; I just got caught off guard.” How you first respond is a better reflection of what is in your heart than your calculated response. C.S. Lewis said it this way: “When I come to my evening prayers and try to reckon up the sins of the day, nine times out of ten the most obvious one is some sin against charity; I have sulked or snapped or sneered or snubbed or stormed. And the excuse that immediately springs to my mind is that the provocation was so sudden and unexpected: I was caught off my guard, I had not time to collect myself. Now that may be an extenuating circumstance as regards those particular acts: they would obviously be worse if they had been deliberate and premeditated. On the other hand, surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth? If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way, the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man: it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light.” Pray that God will help you exterminate the rats that remain hidden in the dark. (1 Cor 3:4)