Locus+ May 12, 2021

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1 Corinthians 3:1-4

1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, 

3 for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? 

4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men?

     “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, have you reached a verdict?”

Ever heard this phrase in real life or in a movie or TV show?  The Apostle Paul often writes in a legal style.  This passage is often cited or taught in churches as a means encouraging believers to grow in their faith.  It is often interpreted as placing blame and responsibility on believers for growing in their faith.

I agree with this interpretation.  But, I think there is something inferred in the passage that is often missed.  

I think there is also an encouragement here to believers who are discipling other believers.  I believe Paul is encouraging leaders to continue to disciple others.  Paul doesn’t say, “So, since you are still fleshly, I will no longer speak to you.”  He meets them where they are and continues with them.

When a baby begins to grow teeth, it is not an easy time for either the baby or the parents.  The baby is in pain and fussy because strange things are happening to their body.  The parents have a difficult time because their little one that used to be a sweet angel and relatively easy to deal with is now constantly fussy and seldom sleeps normally. 

When a believer hits the “teething” stage of spiritual growth, it is very difficult.  Nothing pleases them.  Faith becomes either boring, difficult, or painful.  Many times, spiritual growth comes to a halt and leaders give up on them.

So, what should we take from this passage?  If you are a believer just venturing into your spiritual growth journey, keep trying.  Keep fighting.  Remember, you are going to fall.  But when you do, get back up.  To take an idea from an old phrase: if at first you don’t grow (or succeed), try, try again.

If you are a leader, meet people where they are.  Paul said he talked to them like babies because they were babies.  And don’t give up!  Be wise in your judgement, but don’t give up. Work to maintain the relationship.  Pray for direction.  

And, as always, remember what you can control.

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