1 Corinthians 3:1-9;Psalm 33:12-15, 20-21; Luke 4:38-44
” I fed you milk, not solid food.” (1 Corinthians 3:2)
“Grow up!” It’s a common schoolyard taunt for a reason: nobody wants to be accused of being immature. Just as a twelve-year-old boy doesn’t want to be shorter than his friends, we Christians don’t want to be found lacking in spiritual maturity. But it’s just this problem that Paul pointed out to the Corinthians in today’s reading.
Paul saw the Corinthian believers as “still of the flesh” because of the jealousy and rivalry among them. They were beginning to break into factions and divisions, following different leaders in the Church. The last thing Paul wanted was to see the people arguing about who was following the best pastor!
It seems that while the Corinthians had experienced God’s love very powerfully, they weren’t translating their experiences into actions. Being filled with God’s mercy should have moved them to be more merciful and open to other people. It should have drawn them together, not split them apart. But it didn’t. They remained stuck in their old ways of thinking and acting.
How can we avoid the Corinthians’ dilemma and move from milk to solid food? How can we overcome the divisions and judgments that keep us “still of the flesh”? By finding practical ways to live according to the love of God that we have experienced. If there is someone in your life who always seems to annoy you, respond in love. Pray for the person every day, asking God to bless him or her. Persist in prayer, and you’ll find your own heart changing—even if the other person never changes at all!
Or, if you often find yourself in conversations that lead to arguments and division, make it a point to be an agent of unity. Look for ways to change the topic. Bring up something positive or encouraging. Speak words of acceptance and patience, words that lift people up instead of drag them down. Just a little shift in the conversation can open the door for the Spirit to work and for love to prevail.
We really can “grow up” into Christ. If we learn to let God’s grace and mercy flow in us, it can have a powerful effect on the way we treat other people.
“Come, Holy Spirit, and bring about unity among all the people who call on your name.”~WAU