How open are you to the constructive criticism of those who are further along than you? It’s amazing how defensive we get when we find out what we’re doing isn’t the best. Scripture shows that this has always been a part of human nature.
Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored.
1 Corinthians 14:36-38
Paul is concluding his exhortation concerning the gathering of the saints. He has explained that the worship service is not a vehicle to show off how spiritual you are. Instead, it should be a place of ministry and blessing for all who attend.
Having founded this church, Paul knew many of the personalities involved. He also knew that some of them would resist his guidelines. Because of this, he made some very strong remarks to get their attention.
God’s Word didn’t start with them. As a matter of fact, the Apostle Paul was the first person to bring it to them. He established their church. Furthermore, they are one of many churches that were started by Paul’s ministry.
He then mentions two groups of people – those who think that they’re a prophet or highly spiritual. He lets them know that if they really are sensitive to things of God, they’ll acknowledge that his letter is a Word from God.
That’s interesting. We can look back on these events. We don’t give it a second thought. Of course, First Corinthians is the Word of God; it’s a part of Scripture.
But to them, it was something new. Many of them looked at it as if it were simply another letter from Paul – the traveling evangelist.
They should have known by his lifestyle and the fruit of his ministry that what he said held a lot of weight. He had pressed into the Holy Spirit more than any of them. So they should have received this command accordingly.
I watch a reality show where a famous chef, making millions of dollars with his Michelin Star restaurants, tries to help struggling restaurant owners. I’m blown away by some of their reactions.
Here’s someone who knows the restaurant business. He knows what it takes to be successful. Yet the owners resist his advice, telling him that he doesn’t understand their business.
I’ve seen this happen over and over in the ministry. Young Christians, or even ministers, hear the advice of those who have already been through many spiritual battles. Yet they resist the advice that could save their ministry, marriage, or church.
I’ve heard this so many times. “You don’t know what I’m facing.” “I understand what you’re saying, but I know what I’m doing.”
The unfortunate results are that they eventually crash and burn. Their arrogance insulated them from the truth that could have protected them. Take stock of the advice you’ve received. Don’t put yourself in this dangerous situation.
Paul concludes with this summary.
Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
1 Corinthians 14:39-40
We should take this to heart. Don’t resist the gifts of the Spirit. Yet make sure that they’re only used to build up the body of Christ.
Question: What advice have you received that saved you from future problems?
© 2019 Nick Zaccardi