Daily Scripture Reading:
Monday, January 18: 1 Corinthians 4
Paul continues to build upon his push for the Corinthians to live lives that focus on what God has called them to rather than the world. We are reminded in chapter 4 how quickly we tend to take things into our own hands rather than allowing God to work things out. We judge quickly, we look to be the exposer of sin in the lives around us rather than trusting that it is God who brings these very things to light. Paul reminds us that we are not to take credit for what God is and will do in our lives; rather, we are to focus on living lives that imitate Christ and what he has done for us, as Paul even states, "the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power."
1. Consider how quickly we look to play the role of judge in our lives and the lives around us. Do you trust God to expose sin? Why or why not?
2. How will you look to imitate Christ each day as a means to trust God?
Tuesday, January 19: 1 Corinthians 5
Here Paul is addressing a very public and very pervasive sexual sin in the community of Corinth. As incest is taking place in the community Paul is aghast that the community of Corinth knows and seems to accept this sin and more. The reality is that Paul saw how deeply this sin had manifested itself so much so that it even made its way to him. The reality is that any claim they had to be following the way of Jesus and his kingdom was negated by this single individual. Paul makes it clear that we are to "purge the evil person from within" as we understand that the sexually immoral will have nothing to do with God and his kingdom.
1. According to chapter 5 we are to "purge" sin, specifically sexual sin, from our way of life. What sin do you need to purge?
2. How has your relationship with Jesus changed what you deem as acceptable? How will you calibrate to a kingdom and Jesus way of life as opposed to a worldly approach?
Wednesday, January 20: 1 Corinthians 6
As has become abundantly clear at this point, the Corinthians simply struggled in living a kingdom life and were caught up in the way the world operated. From their dealings with one another to very simply their way of life, there was no distinction between them and those who did not follow Christ. Paul wanted to drive home to the Corinthians that the "unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God." He doesn't say the have a good chance or there is still another way for them to make it, he is cut and dry. The reality being the sexual sin was not just of one man in their body but was practiced in many fashions whether it be incest, or adultery, or homosexuality it was happening and Paul wanted to be clear that this had no place in God's kingdom or His way of life. Simply put, our body is meant for God and is His and so Paul pleas with the Corinthians and with us to flee from sin recognizing that God, through His Son, paid for us at great price and so we should glorify God in how we use our bodies.
1. According to this passage who will not inherit the kingdom of God?
2. At what cost were you purchased? How then will you respond?
3. Does this passage challenge your approach as a son/daughter of Jesus to how you live your daily life?
Thursday, January 21: 1 Corinthians 7:1-24
For the Corinthians, much like us, questions abounded as to their way of life. Paul pushes them here to understand a very simple truth which is to "live as you are called." In marriage, understanding the guidelines before us, the cost is that you are now joined as one and belong to one another. This works itself out in our response to our call in following Jesus that he does not want to change our physical attributes but our understanding of his purchase of us. True freedom comes very simply and that is in our Lord! Paul makes it clear that we "were bought with a price" and so our life should reflect this.
1. Why is it offensive in our day to think we belong not to ourselves?
2. How may you need to change your way of life to live a life that reflects your identity in Jesus?
Friday, January 22: 1 Corinthians 7:25-40
In a unique turn Paul offers the Corinthians a glimpse of his "judgment" concerning marriage, singleness and how they are to approach a way of life that focuses not on themselves but on Jesus. The reality is that "the appointed time has grown very short" and so Paul urges them to not be concerned with things of this world but the things of the Lord. As you read this passage you see ultimately that Paul is concerned with the "divided" individual who is not focused "undividedly upon the Lord."
1. Are you divided in your devotion to the Lord?
2. What may God need to do in your life, your marriage, your family to push you to focus solely on him?