We shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously. It’s important that you check yourself out regularly to see whether you’re still going the right way. You can so easily believe in yourself, thinking that you’re still on track that you can’t see that you’re actually going the wrong way.
Communities of believers can easily lose their vision and consequently function for themselves only. All their time and money are spent on their own growth and development. That is not the instruction. The church exists for the sake of the world. The church is God’s gift to the world. The church must help and aid the world and alleviate their need. That is what God instructed the church to do.
Paul probably saw that the church was going to falter at this hurdle and therefore decided not to join one specific group. The group would’ve required things from him that would’ve held him back later on and prevented him from living his calling. It was a problem when he met people he didn’t want to be with and when there were traditions or rules holding him back from leading others to Jesus. He wanted to be free to talk to any other person in a relationship of trust.
Paul doesn’t say it’s wrong to belong to a church. He only says that we should look at our reflection in the mirror to see whether we’re still carrying out the Lord’s instruction. Are we still winning souls for the Lord or have we become so caught up in the traditions and customs of the church that we no longer reach out to others? Are you free to walk into any place, mix with other people, so that you can make a difference there? Don’t get too comfortable. That’s a trap we should avoid.
You must be strong to live with people in the world, because the devil will easily trip you up. The world looks very attractive. It’s not always that easy to stop after two beers while sitting with the other guys in the bar. It’s not easy to be in the world, but not of the world. It’s not easy to be free and do exactly what God wants.
Therefore, it is extremely important that our relationship with God is such that we will know immediately when it will make God uneasy and we should walk away from a situation that doesn’t suit Him. 21I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view.
Paul’s heart is right. Paul cannot do otherwise. 22I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. 23I did all this because of the Message.
I heard about a man who suffered under his wife’s beliefs. Everything he thought about, anything he did was from the devil. Even to listen to Steve Hofmeyr was evil. Well, yes. Like many of us Steve isn’t an angel, but I’m sure that to listen to Steve won’t take away your place in heaven! It wasn’t Paul’s idea and even less Jesus’ idea that religion should take us away from the world. And even less that religion should drive a wedge between man and wife.
Maybe the key word here is balance. We must serve God with conviction, do what He expects of us and sow His love in excess. Maybe this is the question we should ask ourselves: Do I sow enough love?
Are there things keeping you back or alienating you from making a difference in the world?
Which handbrakes are pulled up, preventing you from living freely?
What can you do to become truly free to carry out God’s instruction?
Lord, sometimes we’re bound by traditions and then we look at Your world through manmade glasses. Sometimes we don’t even see the need. Maybe we’ve become so lazy that it’s easier to ignore the need than to see it. Please free me of all my traditions and baggage so that I may make a real difference in the world. Amen