December 3, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.”—1 Corinthians 4:1–5 (NIV)
I’d like to start by asking this question: Have you ever changed your mind about how you think of someone (including yourself)? If you have, consider what factors changed your thinking. Perhaps time was a factor, a lack of maturity may have caused you to think differently, or maybe it was the revelation of new and previously unknown information. Regardless of the factor, you had what you believed were good reasons to inform your thinking before and after the change.
Paul starts off 1 Corinthians chapter 4 by informing the Corinthian church how to view his position in the body of Christ. He takes the humble position of a servant (“how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ”), while also acknowledging his God-given authority (“and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed”). This is important to note because this information will keep believers from thinking too highly of Paul and, on the flip side, from thinking too lowly of him by disregarding his God-given authority as an apostle.
Paul continues on by acknowledging his responsibility unto God for the call placed upon his life. But who is to judge Paul’s faithfulness to that calling? Is it other believers? A human judge and jury? Himself? Actually, none of the above. As Paul states, “It is the Lord who judges.”
The Lord’s judgment can either be very comforting news or incredibly terrifying news, depending on your relationship to Him. Why you ask? Because “He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.” This news is comforting to those who’ve remained faithful through obedience to God’s Word, but terrifying for those who have hidden their true intentions behind the appearance of faithfulness and devotion.
So, how do we avoid being deceived (even by ourselves) and have confidence in God’s judgment? Read the following two Scriptures and consider the importance of being in God’s Word:
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”—Romans 12:2 (NIV)
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”—Hebrews 4:12 (NIV).
Reading your Bible is essential to your relationship with God and will protect you from deceit. It will guide you and instruct you in the way everlasting.
Pause: Consider your relationship with the Lord.
Practice: Set aside time to spend with God each day this week. Pick a reasonable and manageable amount of time. Start small but be consistent. Take time to dwell upon and pray through what you read and what God shows you.
Pray: Lord, You are the only righteous judge over all creation. Thank You for making a way to reveal to me where I need to change my thinking towards You and Your Word. Amen.
John Madge has been on staff with Calvary for over 4 years, serving as the Digital Systems Manager in the Communications Department. In 2019, he went on his first mission trip with Calvary Chapel to Hungary in order to support local missionaries and churches and share the gospel with locals. John enjoys living an active lifestyle through sports, fitness, and the occasional Zumba class. He has a deep desire for others to know the love of God in Christ Jesus and is a huge mental health advocate. He also hopes to be fluent in Spanish one day.