Relationships are what life is about. Relationships with friends ... family ... fellow church members ... romantic relationships, husband and wife relationships--and of course, a relationships with God--these are what make life worth living.
But if relationships are so important, why don't we invest more in them? Why do we keep pushing them to the back burner? Why do we stay busy all the time and neglect the people we love? Why do we throw relationships away over petty disagreements, instead of working to keep them healthy?
At the beginning of 1 Corinthians, we see that the Corinthian Christians are having a fight. They had a personality cult going. They were dividing into camps based on which pastor/church leader they thought was most important. They were quarreling (the Greek word indicates strife or contention, not just a mild disagreement).
This broke Paul's heart. Why? Because it was a sign of spiritual immaturity. Paul says, "For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not still worldly?" (1 Cor. 3:3). He even refers to them as "mere infants in Christ" (3:1). The take-away for us is ...
Spiritual maturity is not how much you know ... it's how well you love.
Where did we get the idea that spiritual maturity is stuffing our heads with knowledge? You might be thinking, "From pastors like you, Claude!" OK, good point. Let me explain. I'm all for biblical knowledge. I've dedicated my life to gaining and passing on biblical knowledge. But knowledge is a means to an end. And the end is love. Relationships. A relationship with God. Stronger relationships with others.
As you read along with The Corinthians Challenge (and I sincerely hope you will), remember that the goal is to gain knowledge that will strengthen our relationships. Because spiritual maturity is not how much you know. It's how well you love.
Here are the readings for this week:
Mon: 1 Corinthians 1:1-17
Tue: 1 Cor. 1:18-2:5
Wed: 1 Cor. 2:6-16
Thu: 1 Cor. 3:1-23
Fri: 1 Cor. 4:1-21
Check back tomorrow for some FAQ's about participating in this challenge!