1 Corinthians 3:1-9 - But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not being merely human? 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.
Recall for a moment kids learning how to eat. From milk and formula to runny goo in baby food jars, they slowly and steadily move on to other cuisine—and other eating challenges. Soon their palates are experiencing flavor bonanzas like pureed meat, whipped carrots, and whatever you do to zucchini to make it edible.
Before long, it's time for their first plate of food (one of life's major transition zones, don't you think?) where mashed potatoes and apple sauce are early crowd favorites. Though it seems a lifetime, soon they're on to bigger and better things—and the best thing of all: they can feed themselves!
Oh, that we might say the same!
The apostle Paul knew this situation well. Addressing the fellowship of believers at Corinth, he was unable to speak to them in the way he would have preferred. They knew Christ. They had received Him and made the good confession of faith. But their faith-walk was a constipated one. They locked up on issues they should have long been past: petty jealousies and internal strife made their progress negligible at best, halted at worst.
Paul could not talk with them in way that was fitting for how long they had been believers. Instead, he had to spend time on the fundamentals, treating them like children who, having once learned how to consume solid food, were now unable to consume anything more than milk.
How often are we like the folks at Corinth, stunted in our growth because our spiritual nourishment is loaded with human additives? For Paul there was one way to becoming the man or woman we can be: devotion to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. What he said to the church at Philippi bears repeating: "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained" (Philippians 3:14-16).
Indeed, let us hold tight to what we have attained—and grow into Him who is Head of all.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, may we learn to live as those who are mature in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
1. Do you think celebrity lives influence society's thinking in a significant way? How so?
2. Why would the Corinthians have chosen one teacher over another (Paul, Apollos, or someone else)? How do you think it got to that point?
3. Who is some prominent person you respect and admire? Has your esteem remained constant over time for that person?
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