Verse: 1 Corinthians 4:18-21 ESV
Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?”
As we have been learning this last week in our devotions, in this book and chapter, the apostle Paul was writing a warning letter to the church in Corinth in order to encourage them to get back on the right path. After Paul left them, the people of the church in Corinth had started to follow new leaders who were arrogant and led them away from the teachings of Jesus that Paul had originally shared. They started listening to teachers who boasted about themselves and liked to talk a lot and tear down other real church leaders like Paul. But, these leaders did not have God’s power. In response, Paul issued a serious warning – when he came back to visit, he would deal with these supposed leaders with God’s power and not just talk. Or, if the church would so choose, he could visit in love.
Two things became practical for me as I read these verses and asked God for direction. First, it is apparent that real leaders in the church draw people closer to Jesus and His power that heals and changes people’s lives. When they are truly following Jesus, our leaders share the love and power of Jesus that changes our lives. Like Paul said here, God’s love through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, who lives in us, is powerful. It’s not just words; there are results.
Second, Paul’s warning about visiting again reminds me of someone else who said He was coming back with power – Jesus. It makes me ask myself – am I living my life in line with His teachings? If not, how can I ask God to change me to follow Jesus, so that when He comes back, I will be found in His love?
So, let’s all take note – to make sure we are aligned with Jesus, through leaders in the church, both locally and around the globe, who are following Him and sharing the transforming power of His life and love. And, let’s continue to do our best to our Jesus first in our lives and follow Him.
Father, thank you for our church leaders, at CityLight, and around the world. Thank you also for the example of our leaders in the past, like Paul, who didn’t boast in themselves, but boasted about you. Please help us to continue to follow Jesus, though the transforming power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.
Author: Chris Fraser