Lift up your eyes

1 Corinthians 4.1-21

This note was originally published on Saturday 26 October 2013.

For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?


Have you ever said you’d do something, and then forgot or not bothered to do it? How often do you say too much, and do too little?


1 Corinthians 4.1-21


If you’ve been saying to yourself, ‘I’m glad I’m not like these immature Corinthians,’ think again and heed Paul’s warnings.

First, he warns that one day Jesus will shine his light on things ‘hidden in darkness’ and ‘expose the motives of the heart’ (v 5). That’s what Paul cares about, not what other people say or think (v 3).

Second, remember that we are God’s servants, and life is a gift. Like Israel before them, the Corinthians boast as if they had earned the blessings they have received (vs 6, 7).

Third, ‘those who have been given a trust must prove faithful’ (v 2), even if they face condemnation, ridicule (v 9), hunger, thirst, homelessness (v 11), and become like the scum that is scraped off a dirty pan (vs 12, 13).

Paul isn’t trying to scare or mock, but to warn. Paul isn’t perfect, but he’s done the best he can (v 4) – so he warns his spiritual children (v 15) to imitate him (v 16), to stop simply talking about their faith, and start living it out (v 20).


Did any of these warnings resonate with you? Pray through them, asking God to help you heed Paul’s words and change. With the eyes of the Spirit, resolve to live as a servant of Christ.