8We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God. who raises the dead. 10He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many. 12Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace. 13For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand.2 CORINTHIANS 1:8-13 (NIV)
We are in turbulent seasons and we expect even greater, mindboggling shifts, realignments and changes, in times ahead. Yet we hope in the all-knowing God who knows the end from the beginning, not mere mortals here today, gone tomorrow. Evidently, not even governments or jobs and salaries can save anyone. Our behaviours and attitudes towards the Church, coupled by different thoughts and experiences, can actually slow down its growth. Paul writing to the Church in Corinth had no doubt come to the realisation that he himself was in no position to further the expansion of the Church by his own efforts. If Paul, a man that endured so much could come to such a realisation, who are we? The dynamic tempo of church’s development up to some point was inevitably slowed by what we witness today:”Followership” but not “Fellowship” … Follow this, follow that but in actual sense, zero fellowship! My pastor Apostle James Kings told me something profound yesterday. That we are in those days where some follow God, as others follow gold!
The Letter in 1 Corinthians 1 was penned at a turbulent period of “followership” with emergence of the likes of Appollos. It would seem like he proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah, but knew nothing of the significance of his Death and Exaltation. Unknown to him too, was the ecstatic gift of the Holy Spirit, associated with baptism. Although Appollos was of great service to the Church in Corinth, as we learn from the scriptures above, one unfortunate result of his skill as a preacher was that he attracted a popular following which tended to think of itself as “Apollos’ church.” This is not a farfetched phenomenon if we consider the advent of “papas” and “mamas” in our present Protestantism, particularly independent charismatic movements. If we notice someone is following us and Christ we are duty bound as “brothers” keeper to redirect them to Christ lest they turn us into their idols. We can chose to FOLLOW Christ on our own intentional volition, and by conviction of the Holy Spirit. Or, we can also choose to FOLLOW Christ by proxy because the person we are “following” is “following” Christ. Nothing demonstrates that more than our online presentations where we are spoilt for choice of who/what/when/why, to follow. But the gospel IS NOT, about us. It is all about JESUS CHRIST! Nobody is telling you not to “follow” anyone. The question is this, however: WHAT/WHO EXACTLY ARE WE “FOLLOWING” AND AGAINST WHAT MOTIVATION?
Grace & peace,
Originally posted by Dann Matthews W’Obukosia