The Rod or The Gentle Spirit

Happy Wednesday! I recall as a child, hearing the words “don’t make me come in there” or “don’t make me come back there”. Those words basically stated, if I have to get up and walk over there or if I have to pull the car over, you will regret the discipline that is coming with it. It was enough for me to straighten up and behave like the child I was raised to be. In today’s verses, Paul is completing his thoughts on the Corinthian church. He concludes chapter 4 with correction and hope for change. Join me as we finish this chapter.

18 Some of you have become arrogant, thinking I will not visit you again. 19 But I will come—and soon—if the Lord lets me, and then I’ll find out whether these arrogant people just give pretentious speeches or whether they really have God’s power. 20 For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power. 21 Which do you choose? Should I come with a rod to punish you, or should I come with love and a gentle spirit?” (1 Corinthians 4:18-21 NLT)

Each time I read a message from Paul, I think we need more Paul’s in the world. He was transparent and didn’t mix words when it came to the truth of the gospel message or imitating Christ. He poured his heart and soul into developing the church and leading them on the right path, but as we read last week and yesterday the church was comfortable following other leaders and doing as they pleased. Paul was no fool, he knew the enemy (satan) was creating division and he wasn’t afraid to go full throttle and confront those who were just talking the talk and not walking the walk.

Sisters and brothers, I know we have that saying “fake it until you make it”, but God is calling us to turn from fake/false teachers who are faking and for us to stop being fake imitations of Christians and be Christians. As Paul relied on the power of the Holy Spirit and not in his on strength, I encourage all of us to do the same. Choose to live in God’s power not in your own strength. “For the kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.”(v.20)

Father God, thank you for the refreshing reminders. Thank you for the faithful servants who refuse to bow down to false gods, idols and ideologies. Lord, thank you for the examples set before us so that we can be alert and aware of Satan’s plots against the church and the body of Christ. Lord, forgive us for the times when we were led astray by our own motives, by our own flesh and selfishness. Lord, equip us in your power and might so that we may stand in faith and bare the image of Christ within us. Lord, we don’t want to appear to be fake or cheap imitations of Christians, we want to be the real thing. The real thing without cheap excuses for not being perfect, but with you working perfection into us, transforming us daily and understanding your purpose for our lives is not to continue being our old or own self but us become more like the image of Christ. Lord, as we are reminded of the hope we have in you, as we have accepted you as our Lord and Savior, and you removed the veil from our eyes (“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” – 2 Corinthians 3:18), keep changing us into your glorious image. Direct us in your ways. In Jesus name, amen!

Keep praying! Keep Trusting! Keep believing!

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