May 14, 2010
Read: But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus... Romans 2:21-24a
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
Think About: If you read any of the Pauline epistles looking for the reason why Paul was writing them, you will quickly discover that most were written to address problems at that specific church that had cropped up in Paul's absence. In some cases - perhaps most cases - Paul would have to brag about himself a little before addressing those problems so that the readers would understand that his was the truth they needed to listen to.
I don't think Paul would necessarily have the same problem today. In the 21st century church, Paul would be a rock star. He would be bigger than Billy Graham. We have a tendency to put our heroes on pedestals, and when they get knocked off - as they inevitably will - we fall apart.
We need to learn, especially in the relationships we establish with others in our faith community, that people were not made to sit on pedestals. Pedestals are quite uncomfortable and demand more than God expects of us. It is, however, appropriate to look to others as examples we might follow or to be an example to others. Paul often asks his readers to use him as an example and encourages Timothy to be an example. At the same time, in Galatians for instance, he chastises Peter for failing to set a good example. Anyone who assumes a position of authority in the church should know that setting a good example for others is a part of the job.
The problem arises when we think so highly of a brother or sister in Christ that our faith would be significantly shaken if he or she were to make a mistake or behave in a way that did not seem right to us. As Paul reminds the believers in the church at Corinth, they should be less focused on the human leaders who introduced them to faith and more on Jesus Christ. He writes, "After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only servants through whom you believe the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us." We need to remember that our faith is not ultimately in imperfect human beings, but in the perfect love of Jesus. Undoubtedly, we need to do our best to reflect that love and expect our leaders to do the same, but as mentioned earlier in the devotions this week, we are all sinners in need of God's grace.
Although we will not always get it right, it is still our privilege and responsibility to ask ourselves in whatever we do, if we are glorifying God - not ourselves - for that's our purpose in life. When you ask, "What would Jesus do?" you are essentially asking, "Would what I am doing bring glory to God? Are my actions uplifting to the faith of others and an encouragement to those who do not yet know Christ?" If the answers to these questions are yes then we are acting like the person God made us to be and he should get the credit. When we are acting like anything else, thanks be to God for his grace that helps us find our way back into the flow of the Spirit.
Pray this Prayer: Father, I cannot control what other people do, but you can help me to be the best me I can be. I want to be your good and faithful servant. Show me how I can glorify you. Amen.
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