In 1 Corinthians 4 Paul was trying writing to the church at Corinth because after he had established their church they started chasing after other leaders who were not living out the gospel. They were prideful and full of their own worldly wisdom so much to the point that they were living well and were not suffering any persecution. Their success boosted their pride because it gave them the impression that they were living well. In fact, Paul even commented kind of sarcastically that they looked like they were living so well that it would almost seem that Christ had returned, and they were already reigning together. Paul uses this as a pause moment as if to say “I sure wish that were the case for the sake of all of us” but he returns to his point. The truth was that the church at Corinth had strayed after some clever sounding teachers who had led them into humanistic ideas that sounded pretty truthful and logical from a carnal and logical mind. Because of this teaching they seemed to have thought they figured out how to live and fit into the world and be successful, while their pride caused them to believe they were somehow still walking out their lives for Jesus. In fact. They were so convinced of it that they were teaching these ways to other people and feeling pretty proud of their success and their so-called “wisdom.” So much so that they were spreading this way through the church. Paul was trying to remind them that when he established them as a church, he came to them as a father and wanted them to imitate Him. He reminded them that while they were off looking successful, the real apostles were out in the thick of things being treated like trash by the world because the gospel they were preaching was the one of surrender and servanthood. None of which appeals to the world or the carnal mind. The real apostles were humble men who were out preaching the pure gospel while also working hard with their hands as tent makers in order to support themselves so they wouldn’t be a financial burden to the church. Paul was appealing to the church he started at Corinth to remember that he had come to them as a father, and that he desperately wanted them to see that his fatherly care for them was for their good. He was sending this message through Timothy warning them that he would be coming to see them soon and he hoped that they would repent because he could either come to them with a disciplinary father’s heart, or he could come to them with a spirit of gentleness knowing they had repented. He concludes this with a “how do you want this to go?” kind of ultimatum, but from the attitude of a loving father because he still very much saw himself as their spiritual father who recognized that his kids were following the wrong crowd. This really hit home as I read because I see so much of this in the current Christian church. So many people are living their lives in a duplicitous way. They will tell you they are Christians, and they will quote little sayings and scriptures, but they are not at all surrendered over. Like the church at Corinth, they believe they have figured out a successful way to function and fit into the world by adopting some of the world’s “values”, while also still believing that they are faithfully serving God because they simply say they believe. Somehow, we equate “belief” with things we agree with even if we don’t do them. If I know it takes hard work and discipline to work out and eat well to get in shape, I can say that I believe it to be true, but I would be a liar to say that my “belief” equates to my actually living it out. We can say we believe anything, but the proof of our integrity is in what we do with that belief in our actual daily life. We violate our own conscience every time we say we believe something that we don’t actually do. There is a psychology term defined as “cognitive dissonance” that has actually been proven by neuroscientists to show that when we live in this state, it actually causes damage to our brains. I’m not trying to get scientific, nor psychological. My point is that science is just now catching up and figuring out the truths that God has established from the beginning of time. The world puts down the truth of the gospel because it sounds like utter foolishness to them. They don’t have the spiritual eyes to see it, but Christians in America need to wake up and return back to the foundational truth written in the Word of God and stop chasing after the American Dream. Jesus is coming and His word warns us that we are in danger of being found asleep with our lamp wicks unlit. Those of us who are awake and living this daily life need to wake up the sleepers and provoke them to serve God with all their hearts. Their salvation depends on it!