September 24, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: ‘He catches the wise in their craftiness’; and again, ‘The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.’ So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.”—1 Corinthians 3:18–23 (NIV)
When reading 1 Corinthians in its entirety, you’ll probably notice that Paul’s emphasis is on reminding the Church that there is no need to associate themselves with one follower of Jesus over the other. This is why Paul writes in the passage above, “No more boasting about human leaders!”
This is a trap we easily fall into because it’s natural for us to look up to people and become their fans or followers. Nonetheless, Paul’s encouragement to the people here is that because of Christ, we get the same access to God as the people we may idolize in the faith. The same access to God and the Holy Spirit that any pastor has, we also have. The question then that becomes important to ask is this, “Are we playing our part in walking with God?”
In Galatians 5:16 (NIV), Paul writes, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” When we receive the gift of Jesus’ salvation and embrace our new identity as righteous, redeemed, and holy, we’re entering into a relationship with God that opens us up to the lifelong journey of transformation. This means that as we receive the Holy Spirit, we must also be continually open to receive His work. Every day, He works to open our eyes to God’s hand in everything around us. We must engage with the Holy Spirit through the spiritual disciplines in order to better hear His voice and mature in our faith.
When we meditate on Scripture, we allow our hearts to soak in it as the truth penetrates our minds and roots itself in our thought processes. When we study Scripture, our understanding of its complexities and beautiful intricacies grows allowing us to truly appreciate who God is and what He’s done for us. When we spend time in prayer, we increase our faith by presenting our requests before God, offering Him gratitude, and being vulnerable with Him. When we engage in genuine worship, we surrender our lives to the only one worthy of it and ascribe to Him the praise He deserves.
This is why Paul wrote that “all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God,” because through the gift of the Holy Spirit, we all have the same opportunity to deepen our faith, intimately know the Father, and become an ambassador for Christ. We don’t need to idolize pastors or other followers of God in an unhealthy and comparative way. We can admire those who are further along in the journey than us; yet, we must always remember that the same Spirit who lives in them also lives in us—and that is worth praising God for!
Pause: Reflect on how you have been comparing yourself to other Christians and possibly even idolizing them? How has this prevented you from truly engaging in the Holy Spirit’s work in your own life?
Practice: Today, take a step back from mentally idolizing other people and instead focus on the Spirit’s work in your own heart. Engage in a spiritual discipline that will draw your attention to Christ and grow your faith.
Pray: Father, I want to stop idolizing or comparing myself to other believers and instead find inspiration from their example. Help me to recognize that the same Spirit that lives in them also lives in me. I want to know You more intimately and be transformed by You. Rid me of anything that is not pleasing to You. Holy Spirit, convict me of sin so I can move forward with Your help! I want to know You better, Amen.
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.