09 Mar First Best to God
Resolutions are decisions to do or abstain from doing something. They can bring the desired transformation if followed scrupulously. But the common perception is, many people give up easily; and the results share a correlation with both plan and execution of such goals. How potentially good habits are built up by sensible resolutions manifesting into a personality lasting longer than one could have believed is itself a miracle.
Paul, in his letters, to the church in Corinth, encourages the believers to take up some concrete decisions to transform their lifestyles. If we take a closer look at the backdrop, Greek city- Corinth, was home to diverse cultures and languages like India. It was famous for theatres, market places, temples, and host to various sporting events. And, as a result of the absence of limitations, Corinth believers were getting too comfortable with the sin and spiritual lethargy which was creeping through their lives into the church.
As their spiritual father, Paul guided by the Holy Spirit, passed instructions via his letters warning them to build on the foundation none other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1Cor 3:10, 11)
A resolution may be a desire or a number of desires inspired from the daily reading of the Word or perhaps, could be an ambition to excel in a specific field of interest, theoretically, but technically, a Christian’s approach must emphasize on sending the first draft to the High Priest, Jesus, in prayer. It is, in fact, a privilege! (Heb 8:1; 9:11) Unlike the worldly institutional customary procedures where we can approach a higher official only after meeting and submitting the pleas to his subordinates, a christian should approach the Lord first.
Here’s a to-do and abstain-from-doing list based on Paul’s first letter to Corinthians.
Let love be your highest goal! 1Cor 14:1
Naturally, we are very choosy when it comes to loving others. There is always that one girl or guy at workplace, school, or college, we tend to run away from. Oblivious of the fact, God keeps an account of our every move(Ps 139:2), we skip conversations, intentionally, and eschew every chance of saying a “hello!” to that one person.
Jesus said, “If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matt 5:46-48 (NLT).
We can love difficult people because we experience Christ’s love for us; His grace can be a reminder and a protective matrix binding love for love, and we don’t have to worry about being snapped at.
Run to win! 1Cor 9:24, 25
The decisions on what sort of competitions we partake in, are grounded on “who we are,” and the larger picture of what the result could depend on “who we put our confidence in.” Before indulging ourselves in any activity or task, we must not forget the consequences that follow last long— eternal consequences! So, as God’s children, we are restricted from playing any game, blindly.
Paul’s task was to preach the gospel, he shares his experience: “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with a purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” 1Cor 9: 25-27.
If we are going to shoot blindly at every opportunity that comes our way without proper training, self-discipline and ignorant of the means it takes, we can be sure to lose! There’s no purpose in it. The precious time God blessed us with, is wasted on a lot of aimless activities, excessive watching of TV, movie addiction, social media etc.
We need to work up, sweat out, and put ourselves to rigorous training mentally and physically, submitting to God’s Will, letting Him lead the way, and only then can we be sure, confident in Christ, that there’s a prize for us at the end of this road.
Flee from the worship of idols 1Cor 10:14, 15
Wonder why God created us? “I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them.” Is 43:7
In the very first commandment, God instructed “I am the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. You must not have any other god but me. You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.” Exodus 20: 2, 3, 4
It’s a warning for us to set our priorities right, and give God the first place: “He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.”
Whatever object, or image, or person that takes God’s place in our life becomes an idol. We must cultivate the attitude of giving the first best to God in ‘tithe’ as well as our talents, physical strength by actively and enthusiastically working for His Kingdom. (Heb 7:2)
“Don’t boast about following a particular human leader” 1 Cor 3:21
Our fangirl moments about worship leaders, preachers, also, the hip and pop culture in the world can deter us from glorifying God.
God warns us to step out of the herd mentality, recognize the human limitations and give credit to Him, the Omnipotent Lord, in everything. Symbolically, Jesus explained how hard it is for the rich (and influential) to enter the Kingdom. What is impossible with man is possible with God.
“Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God:” Mark 10:27
Tejaswi Ravinder is an independent, journalist and budding legal eagle