Did you take all your vitamins today? Some of us struggle to remember to take our vitamins….like me. But when I catch a bad cold or virus, it’s quite amazing how I suddenly remember to take all my vitamins with clock-work rhythm each day. At least until I’m healthy again, that is.
Not all our vitamins are pleasant to the tastebuds, but we know they’re good for us. We need the upkeep. Our bodies are susceptible to any number of germs. And all the March-season bugs are just waiting to grab a hold of our sinus cavities.
Similarly, when we’re jogging along in a healthy trajectory of spiritual growth, we can find ourselves gaining an inordinate confidence in ourselves. We gaze back at our past accomplishments with a token note of thanks to God, yet also an encroaching desire for a good ole’ pat-on-the-back. We might ease up on the throttle, subtly believing we’ve crossed a threshold in obvious maturity.
And we might skip a few vitamins… a little less time in focused prayer won’t hurt, will it? Suddenly three days go by without digging into God’s Word. We miss one Sunday of collective worship and service, then surprisingly it turns into three out of five. Not so suddenly, an intentional effort to share the gospel drifts to the back our minds. We find ourselves scratching our heads to remember the last time we showed Christ’s love in a tangible way to someone in need. Our response is less than gracious to people at church who park in our spot, sing to loudly, or irritate us for one reason or another.
Yikes. I know we all don’t want to go in that direction.
Vitamins are for maintaining and growing in health and that’s just what our new series entitled “Worship… through the Lens of Love” is all about. God’s message for us in First Corinthians is a strong dose, indeed. The needs and issues in first-century Corinth are shockingly similar to the “germs and viruses” we face today.
Our study is not meant to be triage but a good shot of truth-saturated vitamins. Yet just as we don’t like the taste of every vitamin, the truth of God’s Word may seem quite uncomfortable at times.
We might even attempt to dodge the convicting sword of God’s Word through rationalizing our way into believing we’re “just fine.” You and I may even have the gall to disagree with the plain message of the Bible. Oh, not openly, of course. But with a quiet resistance to repentance, we tell God, “I don’t like this. I don’t believe I have to change this. Therefore, I’m not going obey You on this.”
Pastor Timothy Keller shoots a “cannonball across the bow” toward this sort of religious posturing:
“If your god never disagrees with you, you might just be worshiping an idealized version of yourself.”
Ouch. Sometimes the truth hurts.
So Here’s a Warning Label:
God’s vitamins of truth contained in First Corinthians may result in serious discomfort, conviction, and the acute awareness of one’s guilt and/or spiritual immaturity.
Physical symptoms may include but are not limited to tears, sweaty palms, heart palpitations, racing thoughts, anger, frustration, a pit in one’s throat, and weakness in the knees.
Positive effects of receiving these vitamins include but are not limited to freely and joyfully turning away from the viruses of sin (i.e. pride, selfishness, envy, strife, gossip, bitterness, lack of self-control, anger, violence, immorality, etc.), a renewed spiritual vitality, an overflowing love for others, an experience of greater unity within the church, and a clear sense of purpose for one’s life.
The following vitamins are imperative and repeated throughout First Corinthians:
“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” (1 Cor. 16:13-14)
God’s Word read, studied, preached, and taught is like a full-order of vitamins, whereby we grow and remain healthy. So we’ll you join me in prayer as we gather again to come under the convicting work of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God? Please pray with me that we all come ready to receive from the vitamins of God’s Holy Word. Thank you!
In Christ Alone,
Below are a few of the audio messages from our 6 part series (currently continuing) entitled, “Worship…through the Lens of Love [A Series from First Corinthians], delivered at North Park Baptist Church of Grand Rapids, MI on Sunday mornings in March and April 2016.
You can listen to the full audio message by clicking on the play button below or by subscribing to our iTunes podcast.
“The Cross as Our Compass” (1 Corinthians 1:14-25) – Part 1
“Body Parts” (1 Corinthians 12:12-27) – Part 2
“The Litmus Test of Love” (1 Corinthians 13:1-7) – Part 3
“Unfailing Love” (1 Corinthians 13:8-13) – Part 4
“Worship Wars and the Love of God” (1 Corinthians 14:1-19) – Part 5