Scripture: 1 Corinthians 4:1-21
Observation: Paul addresses some of the arrogance of the Corinthians, as many of them think they’ve already “arrived” at the height of spiritual growth. He again shows them the error of human wisdom and how only the Lord can judge us fairly. He concludes by letting them know he’s sending Timothy, one of his closest associates, to visit and teach them.
Application: Did you ever try to keep something hidden as a kid? Maybe it was something you broke or stole or didn’t want your parents to see? For the most part, I lived my life on the up-and-up, easily falling into the role of the “responsible” older sister. However, I occasionally had moments of modest rebellion.
(Warning: Mom, if you are reading this, here’s a confession. It’s been fifteen years, and I think that’s long enough that I can’t get in trouble for it, right? I sure hope so. I’m sorry in advance. Here goes nothing…)
When I was in 7th grade, I lied to my parents. I told them I was going to see the “Lizzie McGuire Movie” (Isabella/Lizzie for life!), but in reality, I went to see “Malibu’s Most Wanted.” It was an exceptionally sub-par movie, but it was rated PG-13 and I knew I would never be allowed to go if I asked (and honestly, for good reason). So for months, I hid my ticket stub and floated around like it never happened.
And then…A few months later, my mom wanted to buy my sister the Lizzie McGuire movie for her birthday, and so she asked me if I thought it was was age-appropriate. Uh-oh. I didn’t know what to do – tell the truth? Avoid the question? Tell her it was even though I never even saw it? I went with the final option, confidently telling her it was, and just like that, I lied again. It was a dangerous web. (Malibu’s Most Wanted so was not worth it.)
Everything that’s hidden in the dark will eventually come to light.
“For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and he will reveal our private motives.” (verse 5)
We can say something publicly, act a certain way with others, but at the end of the day, we can’t really hide what we’re made of from the Lord. We can fake it for the world, but we can’t hide from him.
Y’all, this trust is really hard for me, something I’m struggling immensely with right now. I’m not harboring a big, dark secret, but in so many ways, I’m living parts of my life in the dark. From the outside, I think it looks like I have my life together, but inside, I feel this tediously slow unraveling. It’s like every part of my life, especially the painful and uncomfortable parts, are being exposed, piece by piece. I don’t want to admit it but my private motives right now? They’re jacked up. I don’t want them to be, but they are. I’ve numbed them with my own pride and selfishness, but when I start to peel those layers back, bringing the darkness into light, I find that I have so, so much work to do.
In the dark, we feel safe; but in the light, we are safe.
In the dark, we can push things down, ignore things, cover them up with pride and arrogance. We make ourselves feel safe, but truthfully, we’re farther from God than we’ve ever been.
In the light, we bring things up, address things, expose our pride and arrogance and every other selfish ambition. We’re uncomfortable, and we’re exposed – but we’re also the safest and most secure we’ve ever been because we’re living exactly as God intended for us.
Living in the light is a decision. Maybe it’s time to call your mom and admit that you watched a movie without her permission in 7th grade. Maybe it’s time to fall down on your knees and admit to God what you’ve struggled with for weeks, months, years. Maybe it’s time to tell someone else about the sin you’ve been hiding. Maybe it’s time to humble yourself in a relationship, put yourself in a posture of forgiveness rather than pride.
In the light, you will find freedom.
Prayer: God, I pray I’ll have the courage to bring the darkness to light. I pray I’ll expose every part of my life that I’ve tried to hide or cover up and instead offer it to you and trust you to help me find freedom from it. Amen.