Todays readings… Exodus 38, Psalm 100&101, I Corinthians 8&9
Love is, above all, an active quality; genuine love causes us to do things: it motivates our heart. Now, the things love causes us to do are not things we do out of a sense of obligation, there should not be occasions when we say, “I suppose I had better do …” especially when it comes to serving the Lord.
Our meditations followed these lines as we read the start of 1 Corinthians Ch. 8. Verse 3 tells us, “But if anyone loves God , he (or she)is known by God.” When God, who sees all things through his spirit (Psalm 139 v.1-6) knows that our professions of love for him come right from our hearts – we are “known by God.” But this is more than a one sided sense of knowing, to truly know God results in a two-way relationship, David’s Psalms show this, we read this morning, “Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his” [100 v.3]
We read a few days ago in Exodus, “Moses said to the LORD … you have said, ‘I know you by name … therefore if I have found favour in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you …” [Ch.33 v.12,13]
Knowing God comes through knowing his ways; leading to the realization that we are “working together with him” [2 Cor. 6 v.1]. One of the wonders of this, Paul told the Corinthians, is to realize that “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” [1 Cor. 10 v.13]
Many believers in Corinth experienced temptations to continue to enjoy the fleshly advantages of attending idol temples and feasting there on the food that had been offered to the idols. The idol worshippers saw this food as special because it had been blessed by Temple priests: we have seen this happening in Indian temples.
It is not difficult to see the modern equivalents, especially in prosperous countries in the things that the masses idolize. In Corinth athletic sports were idolized, it is no different today – people call them ‘Stars’ – reflect on how much idolizing happens! .
Finally we noted Paul’s point – “Every athlete exercises self control … they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable” [1 Cor. 9 v.25] He tells believers, “So run that you may obtain it … I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” [v.24,27]
Disqualified! How can we safeguard against that? Does not the ‘oil’ which ‘lubricates’ all our understanding and ways of thinking result in success in our efforts to “run” effectively? This is the reality of our love for God: supported by our reading of God’s word: these provide the awareness that we are “known” by God. Loving God creates our inner strength. How “real” is your love?