The Journey

The Journey Readings: Week 138… and… flesh vs spirit…

Living in the world but not of the world… keeping focused on the eternal in a world full of distractions… seems to be Paul’s overarching message to the church in his letter to the Corinthians…

The Corinthian church reflects many of the ailments found in the western church today… division… jealousy… sexual immorality… factions… all signs of a spiritually immature church…

But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people,
but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you milk,
not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now
you are not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is
jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh
and behaving only in a human way?
1 Corinthians 3:1-3 ESV
An immature church becomes distracted by the things of the world… the flesh… and forgets to live by the heart of the gospel…
Paul encouraged the Corinthian Believers to live unentrenched in the world… hold onto things and positions loosely… pour out their lives for the gospel… because time is short…
This is what I mean brothers: the appointed time has grown very short.
From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none,
and those who mourn as though they were not mourning,
and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing,
and those who buy as if they had no goods, and those who deal
with the world as though they had no dealings with it.
For the present form of this world is passing away.
1 Corinthians 7:29-31 ESV
We too need to live life in this world focused on the eternal…
poured out for the gospel… 
holding loosely to all in this earth…
To live married as if you had no spouse… is not to go out looking for another… or date… but to not allow a spouse to hinder you from the call God has placed on your life in sharing the gospel… because the marriage is not eternal… honor it yes… as God calls us to… but your spouse should not be the primary focus of your life…
The same with mourning… rejoicing… whatever causes either has simply come to pass…
The goods we buy… hold them loosely as if they weren’t ours but God’s to use as He will… and our dealings in the world are not the most important… it’s how God wants you to use those dealings to advance the gospel… save souls…
For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all,
that I might win more of them.
1 Corinthians 9:19 ESV
We miss the heart of the gospel and our role in it when we become distracted by the temptations of the world… not understanding what is to come… what is at stake…
Paul calls each Believer to be intent on sharing the gospel… comparing the preparation and the course of Christianity in our lifetime as a race… or athletic event…
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run,
but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
Every athlete exercises self-control in all things.
They do it for a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.
But I discipline my body and keep it under control,
lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 ESV
Currently the 2016 Olympics are wrapping up in Brazil… the self-discipline and work put in by the athletes in each event is evident… what they have sacrificed in order to have a shot at winning a medal… a perishable medal… of gold… silver… bronze…
But we seem to forget… that we… as Believers… run a race for an imperishable treasure… something far greater than anything the world offers… and we easily become distracted by the desires of the flesh… tempted by power and pride… pleasure and sin… which is fleeting…
We just don’t know… or don’t believe… that there is something far better than what the world offers…
It brought to mind a quote… a teaching… from CS Lewis…

Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

—CS Lewis, The Weight of Glory

Far too easily pleased… with the passing pleasures of the world… when there are treasures and pleasures unimaginable… if we stay focused on Him… and not get distracted…

Forgive us for we know not what we do…

Remember this week… with each choice you make… flesh vs spirit… you are moving toward a great reward far beyond your comprehension… one that will last forever… or pouring out your life… settling for… mud pies in the slums…

To help open your eyes to the eternal… join The Journey…

This week’s readings…
Monday            1 Corinthians 12-13
Tuesday            1 Corinthians 14
Wednesday       1 Corinthians 15:1-34
Thursday          1 Corinthians 15:35 – 16:24
Friday               2 Corinthians 1-2

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