Friday, April 15, 2016

strong & loving

Be on guard.

Stand true to what you believe.

Be courageous.

Be strong.

And everything you do must be done in love.

1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Corinth was a Greek city of around 90,000 when Paul was writing this first letter to the followers of Jesus.

It was a seaport hub, between Athens & Sparta, with trade & traders from all over the known world coming & going at will.

It was a very wealthy place, which led to the people being VERY proud, ostentatious, & really immoral – business was the trade of the day, & ruthless behavior was the norm.

Sounds like a fun place, doesn't it?

Immorality was not only tolerated, but consecrated & celebrated by the strong worship of the goddess, Venus, the goddess of love.

In the temples dedicated to Venus were numerous temple prostitutes, both women & men.

(Now that's a church job that would turn some heads! ;-) LOL)

So, yeah, this was pretty much an “anything goes” kind of place.

And as we know, Rome at that time was a significantly “anything goes” kind of world...

...kind of like America today.

So when Paul writes to the followers of Jesus in Corinth, he knows who he's talking to – he lived there with his tent making friends, the married couple, Priscilla & Aquila.

Paul knew what a sin soaked city Corinth was.

And he tells the Christ followers to be strong, courageous, & carefully on guard.

Corinth wasn't an easy place to live, but Paul encouraged them to live their lives with strength, & resist what the culture & people of Corinth would fling at them.

Paul adds one last interesting mandate for those followers of Jesus.

Even in the face of such abject immorality & ruthlessness, Paul says this...

And everything you do must be done in love.”

So even though the believers there lived in a rabidly dog eat dog culture & population, they were supposed to return that attitude & behavior with a lifestyle & behavior that was loving.

I bet that was fun! ;-)

I don't think the situation in Corinth is any different than what you & I deal with today.

Think about it – Corinth wasn't any different than our culture & people in America today, or for that matter, in the world in general today.

Could we be any more “anything goes” than we are today?

Of course, about the time I think we've seen & done it all, something new pops up!

Anyway, I believe Paul's words are just as pertinent for us as for the Corinthians.

We as followers of Jesus should be careful, courageous, & strong, maintaining the high moral behavior indicative of Christ followers.

And at the same time, our actions should not be as some today would lead us to believe.

We should not be mean spirited, cranky, judgemental, intolerant, unaccepting, prejudiced, exclusive, racist, or just plain holier-than-thou braying jackasses.

I believe Paul would insist that we be like what he mandated the Corinthians to be,

& let everything we are be done in a loving & caring way.

Think about that today...

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