Earlier this week, I was listening to a podcast where the interviewer asked their guest this question:
“There are 6 people at the dinner table (including you). Who are your guests?”
Now, I pose this question to you, but first, let me tell you my answer –
1. Michelle Obama
3. Tracee Ellis Ross
5. Michael Jackson
Yes, I said Michael Jackson. Don’t judge my list, okay?
While MJ may come as a shock to you, let me say that he’s always been at the table. But, you know the one person I have recently become enthralled by?
The Apostle Paul.
(I know you’re thinking, “It’s a Christian magazine Brandi. Didn’t take a rocket scientist. C’mon!)
Ok! Ok! So, it was an easy guess. But, although I’ve always known Paul was a baaad man (and by bad I mean ah-mazing!), I never realized just how real this dude was! So, in case you’ve been underestimating him, like me, I’m going to share some Paulisms that have been calling me out this past week!
What Would Paul Say at the Dinner Table?
1. I ask you, “Has the Messiah been chopped up in little pieces so we can each have a relic all our own?” (1 Cor. 1:13-16, MSG)
In the previous verses in this passage, you’ll see that Paul scolds people for fighting over their favorite preacher or teacher. Some were on Paul’s side. Others were behind Peter or ambassadors for Apollos. Paul is saying, “Stop fighting! Are we not all #TeamJesus? Do we not collectively form the body of Christ?”
In what ways have you been so focused on the (seemingly) glaring differences of your sister or brother that you’ve forgotten you’re on the same team? How can you begin to “cultivate a life in common?”
2. As long as you grab for what makes you feel good or makes you look important, are you really much different than a babe at the breast, content only when everything’s going your way? (1 Cor. 3:1-4, MSG)
Stop acting like a baby! You’re too old for this foolishness. A baby has no self-control. I have an 11-month-old so I know what I’m talking about. She’s only 13 lbs., a tiny little thing, but she can buck, squirm, and holler like you wouldn’t believe when she wants what she wants.
In what areas of life are you demanding your own way and refusing to grow up?
3. You already have more access to God than you can handle. (1 Cor. 4:7-8, MSG)
This one messed me up a little bit. It made me cock my head to the side, squint my eyes, poke out my lips and say, “What you talkin’ bout, Paul?” If only you and I can grasp the power of our thoughts, words, and prayers within the Kingdom of God. God operates at the level of our faith (Matt. 9:29, ERV).
We become what we believe. How does this change the way you’re thinking right now?
4. God’s way is not a matter of mere talk; it’s an empowered life. (1 Cor. 4:18-20, MSG)
We (Christians) talk a good game, but if our lives look just as jacked up as an unbeliever’s life, we’re just talking. Following God isn’t an afternoon stroll we take to pass the time. It’s an obstacle course complete with wall climbs, army crawls, and high knees. Our victories are testimonies of who we have become because of who God is. We should be stronger, resilient, out-of-the-box thinkers, peacemakers.
How has following God changed your life? Can others look at you and tell you’ve been with Jesus?
5. You shouldn’t act as if everything is just fine when a friend who claims to be a Christian is promiscuous or crooked, is flip with God or rude to friends, gets drunk or becomes greedy and predatory. You can’t just go along with this, treat it as acceptable behavior. (1 Cor. 5:9-13, MSG)
“Only God can judge me.” Yep, go ahead and get ready for it because it’s coming. And, while God will judge our hearts (as only He can), we aren’t good friends if we don’t say something when our Christian friends make poor decisions. We should not become so involved, however, that we try to force them to grow. Only God can cause a heart to change and a thing to grow. But, we cannot dim our light nor stop planting good seeds just because someone opposes us.
Have you been encouraging a Christian friend to behave in ways unbecoming of a Christian? Or, have you been ignoring behavior that you know is unacceptable? How can you remind your friend (or yourself) of God’s standards for life in a loving way?
So, what’s the play call?
It’s time out for playing, Team. We’ve been acting like “we ain’t got no home training”, and in some cases, perhaps we didn’t know any better. But, not knowing better isn’t going to stand up when we come before the ultimate and righteous Judge.
Use your Bible, your church’s resources, and this magazine to nourish your spiritual body. Just like our physical bodies need food and water daily, our spiritual bodies need the Word.
Don’t dismiss Paul’s words. Use them as a spiritual check-up. In what areas are you falling short?
Don’t miss out on all the things God planned for you because you refuse to grow up.
Bonus: And, don’t forget to share who’s sitting at your dinner table in the comments! Check out Part 2 in a couple weeks.