1 Corinthians 4:6-13
6 Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other. 7 For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? 8 Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have begun to reign—and that without us! How I wish that you really had begun to reign so that we also might reign with you! 9 For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. 10 We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! 11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12 We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.
In this passage, we find Paul in the middle of correcting the Corinthians. They had been arguing about whether Paul or Apollos was the greatest and who they were following after. It had become a game of comparison and one-upmanship. Sadly, their actions were motivated by pride and they were blind to it. Paul was tired of their nonsense and used sarcasm to highlight their immaturity. He warns them not to go beyond what was written in scripture, nor to boast about the gifts they had received from God.
While we might not be Corinthians, we too can become blind to our own shortcomings. Like the Corinthians, we too are on a pathway of discipleship, of becoming more and more like Christ. God does His transforming work within us as we obey His word and by taking heed to the “Paul’s” and “Apollo’s” in our lives too.
Father God, as I follow after You, may I not deceive myself with pride, thinking that I have achieved it or made it, as if by my own doing. Instead, lead me by Your Spirit and help me to obey Your word and listen to Godly leaders around me.
Written by Gab Martin