Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Where's Your Focus?

One of my goals, actually a pretty important one, is to do my best to stay out of the way of other people's relationship with God.  I find my pattern in this as I read from First Corinthians chapters 1-4, where the Lord cautions us to avoid putting too much attention on spiritual "leaders" (a better term would be spiritual "servants").

Please take 15 minutes to read those chapters and to ask God to examine your attitudes... Are you focused on your relationship with God or are you distracted by the names and reputations of the "servants" (1 Cor 3:5) who the Lord assigns to each one of us.
Here are links to the chapters - clicking on each will open a new window.

First Corinthians
chapter 1 - chapter 2 - chapter 3 - chapter 4
Here are a few lines from chapter 3:

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building.

Our enemy and all spiritual forces of evil want all of us to take our attention off of the Lord.  So the devil tempts both those who are recognized as spiritual "leaders" (actually not leaders but servants of God) and others.
  • The devil tempts (1) the recognized spiritual leaders to put a lot of emphasis on themselves (being joyful or offended depending on people's response to them)
  • The devil also tempts (2) the rest of the people to spend too much time thinking about their relationships, whether good or difficult, with "pastors" and others who have spiritual leadership responsibilities in their churches, Bible study groups, prayer groups, etc. 
As this applies to most believers, when you focus too much on the successes or failings of leaders (or how easy or hard our relationship is going with them) you can, if you're not prayerfully careful, you can end up
  • isolating yourself spiritually or moving from one fellowship to another in a way that does not honor God (and thereby disobey the command of God that we "love one another" within the Christian fellowship)
  • avoiding close fellowships and staying only in large assemblies of believers where the relationships are less personal.
I'm not sure I did a good job of explaining this, so please take time to read the first four chapters of First Corinthians and ask God to examine you in regard to your attitudes and relationships with the "servants" of God in your life.  And please respond and let me know whether or not you think this reflection on God's Word is helpful--or not.  This has been perking in me for a long time


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