by Rev Jason Phua
Readings: 1 Corinthians 9:19-10:13; Proverbs 12:12-14
READ (verses chosen for meditation)
1 Corinthians 9:27 “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
Christians like to preach and / or share the Gospel to others, which we should. The Apostle Paul loves to preach too since as he said, he became all things so that he can do it all for the sake of the Gospel (v.23). Yet, Paul was humble and experienced enough to be aware that as much as Christians love to preach, he must “discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified”.
Question is, how can this happen? How can the one who loves to preach be disqualified from the content of the preaching? Isn’t it true that all who loves to share the Gospel with others also walk in the Gospel? Yes and No. We might be walking in the Gospel at first, but after learning how to share the Gospel and witnessing its power to save; we could become complacent. We could be preaching / sharing so much and so powerfully that we even forgot that we need the saving grace of God each and every day. Even as our lips are involved in the ministry of the Gospel; our body could be so out of control because we deceived ourselves that being involved in such a powerful ministry is enough for sanctification. That is precisely the reason why people are saying that the church is full of “masked” individuals.
One of the books I am reading is Paul David Tripp’s “Dangerous Calling”. In this book, he spoke of how bible colleges these days could have “academized” the Word of God. This happens when well informed seminary students, after having graduated to be pastors of His flock, gradually failed the exact thing we are trained to be i.e. being examples of how we can love God and one another. This happens when the seminary train the idea of God in us; but not so much as the formation of our souls in the grip of God Himself.
With this, I recalled the days at seminary, when I could be reading and studying the Word of God almost every single day; yet there were times when I caught myself to be more excited with the idea of God, then how I should allow the Word of God to transform and nourish my soul. As a result, my body and soul were “de-linked” from the Word I was studying and preaching. As a result, I suffer exhaustion easily and made certain foolish decisions with respect to my studies.
Paul’s warning is not just to those who are called to the pulpit; but in everyday living where we share and teach the Gospel. Much as the Great Commission is important; we really can’t do that without the joyful obedience of the Great Commandment in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, preachers / teachers / sharers of the Word can be disqualified if we our bodies are not kept under control in the Word.
Lord our God, help me not to be a believer who only gets excited with the preaching and sharing of the Word of God; that I lose self-control when it matters the most. Let me not be the disqualified preacher that Paul is warning us all. Amen.