“Let each one take care how …”
Believers are “God’s building”, Paul tells the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 3:9). What does he mean? Let us consider carefully what he next writes: “… like a skilled Master builder I laid the foundation and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (verses 10-12). We must become totally conscious of the foundation on which we are building, all our actions of ‘service in Christ’ must relate to it, to our relationship with Christ.
We encounter the concept of a spiritual building several times in the New Testament. Believers become a spiritual temple – how is our ecclesia shaping up – let us make sure we are doing our part.
Now consider what we have been reading in Exodus, there is a comparison – and a contrast. God was building Israel into a nation and instructing them to make a physical place in which they could meet with him. The Tabernacle was going to be a wondrous place of worship. Incense was burnt in the tabernacle every evening, and the counterpart, are the prayers of believers today, see Revelation 5:8; think of that as you pray.
It is unfortunate that there is a chapter break between yesterday’s Corinthians reading and today’s. The reasoning in Chapter 2 flows straight on into Chapter 3. Let’s pick up the thought: “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit … (which) is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God … interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God … he is not able to discern them because they are spiritually discerned … but I brothers could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready to receive it. And even now you are not yet ready …” (2:12).
Those quotations have taken us as far as verse 2 in Chapter 3. The believers in Corinth had not grasped the picture of God’s building and their part in it. They were still babes, they were reluctant to grow up. It was the situation Moses encountered with the Israelites in the wilderness, it was happening all over again.
This is the lesson the past teaches us. Those who genuinely desire to be true believers today and be part of God’s building must do much soul searching to make sure they are growing up – and are no longer largely natural minded people constantly influenced by the spirit in the world around them. Are you succeeding in this?
“Let each one take care how” he or she builds up and develops a character that is more and more Christ-like. Meditate deeply on the words in 2:9: “… no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” Do we really love God with all our heart? Let us strive more and more to really feel we are part of God’s building – and marvel in our hearts at the incredible wonder of being so – making sure our character is becoming more and more useful to our Saviour, with all our heart? Do we show this by our actions? Do we really feel we are part of God’s building?