Nehemiah 9:22-10:39, 1 Corinthians 9:19-10:13, Psalms 34:1-10, Proverbs 21:13
Today is the 15th day of August. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian, of course, but hey, this might be your first day here. Welcome to the adventure of a lifetime. Even though you’re jumping on in August, that’s fine. This is a day by day journey through the Scriptures and it never ends. So, I’m Brian. It’s great to be here with you as we take the next step forward in that journey that is leading us through the Bible in a year. And we have been working our way through the book of Nehemiah the letter that we call first Corinthians in the New Testament and we’re all reading from the Good News Translation this week. So, yesterday in Nehemiah, all of the people had come together, they celebrated the festival of Booths, they were really having a wonderful time together, very unified. The law was read, the people began to repent, and a prayer was being spoken. Nd, so, we pick up today where we left off yesterday in the middle of that prayer. Nehemiah chapter 9 verse 22 through 10:39 today and we’re reading from the Good News Translation this week.
Okay. So, in first Corinthians, Paul is essentially kind of sharing his posture of ministry, sort of his guiding principles. Yesterday he spoke of the honorable right of those who have devoted themselves to spiritual ministry and who are caring for the spiritual needs of people, that they should be able to provide for their families from that work even though he didn’t exercise that right. And then today Paul discussed freedom basically. He said he’s a free man and like he’s a slave to no one but he’s finding it meaningful to look at his life as a slave to everyone and that helped him to look at the world through the eyes of Jesus. Paul could look at anyone and give them the dignity that they deserved or to revere that person as someone created in the image of God as the as opposed to thinking, “well, I’m a free man, they’re a slave” or “I have spiritual freedoms and they’re in spiritual bondage.” Like, he didn’t look down. He actually tried to diminish himself. He tried to reduce himself below the other person to become their slave, to become their servant, to give them honor in order to share the gospel with them. So, he described it like this. “Among the week in faith, I become weak like one of them in order to win them. So, I become all things to all people that I may serve some of them by whatever means are possible.” And he wasn’t just saying, “so, you know, this should be easy now that you know this, just go out and serve everybody, just lower yourself to the place of a servant and serve everybody” even though that’s a command, even though that’s the way Jesus lived, even though that’s what Christlike looks like. He wasn’t trying to say it’s an easy thing to do. He actually says that it takes the same kind of self-discipline that an athlete has to commit themselves to in order to become a winner, to become a champion. And one of those disciplines is simply being aware, like being vigilant and observing how our hearts are moving. Like, are we being seduced away? Are we looking down? Have we humbled ourselves to the place of a servant? Are we being tempted away? And he gave examples from the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament that we’ve been reading that we know well because we’ve just traveled to that territory, right? And people were tempted and seduced away from God into idolatry. Everything about them began to disintegrate. When they returned to God, as we’re seeing in the book of Nehemiah right now, unity was restored. So, the example Paul’s giving us an Corinthians today is one that we can all put to good use constantly - lowering ourselves so that we can find common ground with whoever it is that we have to interact with understanding this is a posture of a disciple of Jesus Christ and a discipline that we have to train ourselves for, right? So, you’re not gonna just decide necessarily to do this today, jump out and your whole life is changed. This is a discipline, a practice, something we train for. So, start training today and when you fail at it just observe the fact that, “oh, I was not successful at lowering myself. I actually got very prideful, very haughty and said a bunch of things I didn’t need to say into the world, but next time I will know. I am training for this.” And in that we would be training to be Christlike.
Jesus, we invite You into that because You have given us a model of what life can and is supposed to look like and actually needs to look like as we continue to be Your hands and feet, Your body in this world revealing Your kingdom that is in and among us. So, we’re gonna have to walk Your path and that will not allow us to walk the path of pride and arrogance. So, help us to look at everybody as someone who’s created in Your image, everybody who deserves dignity and let us not try to dominate over anyone, especially those that we love. Come Holy Spirit we pray. In the name of Jesus, we ask. Amen.
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