“For Christ’s sake we are fools; but you are wise in union with Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! We are despised but you are honoured!”
1 Cor 4:10 GNB
People see life differently at various stages of the human journey. To begin with our life task is to learn to walk, talk and do simple physical things. Later it becomes a matter of passing exams, getting a job, and so on.
The Christian life also changes, depending on the spiritual maturity of the people on the journey. We begin by deciding to make a commitment, then we move on to learning the spiritual disciplines, understanding some of the teachings, doing some form of service and so on. Paul and the Corinthians were at very different stages so they were experiencing it very differently. The Corinthians were enjoying it – the sense of spiritual freedom and empowerment. They were tasting spiritual wealth and the heady sense of having raised their lifestyles several notches. However Paul had moved on to the stage where carrying the cross, denying oneself, and engaging in what to the world were foolish actions, which is to say sacrifice was what it was all about. But the Corinthian Christians were genuinely committed to Christ. Paul was at a stage only a few of the Corinthians would ever get to. The sheer massiveness of caring for the spiritual welfare of others weighed heavily on him a well.
Some Christians can sing, “I’m living on a mountain underneath a cloudless sky – I’m dwelling in Beulah land”. Others sing, “Other refuge have I none, hangs my helpless soul on thee; leave, ah! leave me not alone, still support and comfort me”. It is a life of joy, of strength and of hope. It can also be struggle, suffering and death.
Lord, walk with me through all the experiences of Christian discipleship.