Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Are you blending in or standing out?

1 Corinthians 3: 1 – 4 (MSG) But for right now, friends, I'm completely frustrated by your unspiritual dealings with each other and with God. You're acting like infants in relation to Christ, capable of nothing much more than nursing at the breast. Well, then, I'll nurse you since you don't seem capable of anything more. As long as you grab for what makes you feel good or makes you look important, are you really much different than a babe at the breast, content only when everything's going your way?

In these verses, Paul urges believers in Corinth to grow up in their faith. Before I dive a little deeper, I want to give you a glimpse of the city. Paul planted this church in 51 AD. The first members of the church were representative of the diversity of the city itself. A major multi-ethnic city, Corinth was the connecting link between Rome and the East. People flocked there to participate in the gambling, legalized temple prostitution, business adventures and all the “fun” that came from being a seaport town.
When we come to Christ, we are new creations in Him (2 Cor. 5:17). He washes away the sins of our “old self” and makes us white as snow…clean, pure. We are no longer muddied by the sin He pulled us out of; in fact, we are citizens of Heaven. Our journey with Christ begins. We learn more about Christ through His Word and start to see the world differently; our perspective begins to change. We no longer live as we once did, where we often gave into the desires of our flesh. Now it’s His desires that matter… not ours.
As we “grow up” in our faith, we learn His ways and we submit to His authority in our lives. The Bible, not the world, becomes the standard by which we live our lives. As we continue to follow, we grow from being an “infant” in Christ to being a mature believer – depending more on Christ in every circumstance and less on ourselves and the world around us.
Paul writes this letter to the Corinthian church and asks them to stop focusing on the “world” around them. Even though they lived in a very “worldly” city, once they became followers of Jesus Christ they were called to be different - to stand out. Different in the way they lived their lives, conducted business, and raised their families. The same is true for us today.
Christians are not suppose to “blend-in” to the world around us. Jesus wants us to be a light in the darkness that surrounds us no matter where we may be (in our jobs, with our extended families and friends, or even in our own homes.) Our worldly views change as we grow up in Christ. Instead of seeing the "world" God changes are perspective to see the things of this world through the lens of the Bible.
As maturing Christians, we should strive to be different in every area of our life… at home, at work, and especially in how we handle difficult situations. When we have our faith and trust grounded in Christ, we depend on Him to navigate us through churning storms. Christ will change our lives BUT we have to do our part too. We have to take steps in faith knowing that Christ is out in front leading the way.
Remember Peter’s walk on water? He didn’t see the waves crashing all around him, He saw Jesus. When his focus was on Christ nothing else mattered. He didn’t see the world around him. (Matthew 14:28 - 29)
Are you growing in Christ or are you just “blending in” to the world around you? Growth in Christ is up to us. One of the best places to start is by having a daily quiet time. Get away with just you, your Bible and Christ. You will be glad you did.

Related scripture: Titus 3: 4-6, Romans 8: 1 – 14, Phil 2:12 – 13, 1 John 3: 4 - 10

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