1Co 4:9 For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.
1Co 4:10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor.
1Co 4:11 To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless;
1Co 4:12 and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure;
1Co 4:13 when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.
1Co 4:14 I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children.
Paul before this chapter was telling the Corinthians about unity. He stated their differing views about the leadership: some followed Paul, some followed Apollos, some Peter and some Christ. He wanted them to follow Christ because they hadn’t been baptized in Paul’s name nor did Apollos die for their sins. They were being judgmental to the others and so a lesson in humility was in order. Most of the rest of the chapter is about this lesson.
To the Greeks and Gentiles humility was a despicable trait that only belonged to slaves. But humility is the only acceptable position for someone who wants to have a relationship with God. God is so great that we have to humble ourselves before HIM to acknowledge Him and find obedience in our hearts for that greatness, and get saved. He gives these and other good gifts but they were bragging as if they were their own and hadn’t been given to them. That they were responsible for them and what they did with them and using them for themselves. Like some musicians or speakers want to do for profit. So Paul gives a taste of the life of someone gifted and tells them to imitate him.
God does give good gifts and He makes our lives a heckuva lot better. He is always sanctifying us and trying to make us better and the point being ultimately to make us perfect. Many of the people liked the blessings but didn’t want to change in other ways. Bless yes but hard not so much. Paul had suffered many hard experiences. Did he want to? They were required of him to obey GOD and to keep going.
Some people don’t like change. When God saved me He gave the hardest challenges I’ve ever faced. When He said to love my wife or my neighbor or put away anger or immorality I thought I should keep at it. It’s hard to pull everything up to a higher standard all the time but I keep trying. We should keep being what God wants as out Pastor Jim says. It’s a very fulfilling never ending job that is very hard to do. It is necessary to please God and be effective in our ministries whether we are happy already or not. But be it all at our own pace. Haha. It is not necessary to take this into consideration unless you are a Christian already.
Humility is a good thing to get and God does give it. It is necessary to go through suffering sometimes and God uses this to make us humble. Don’t we all have to suffer a little once in a while saved or not? Submitting to it is the best way to cope with suffering. We can learn how to cope, how to suffer rightly and how to have patience, to wait, to love and we can stand at the end of the day. At the end of the day hope fully you can stand and say that you have done all you could to walk with God and have been successful or not but you tried. If we love God, and with the help of the Holy Spirit we can stand.
Paul wanted to go against the grain of his flesh all the time. He was beaten he forgave. He was reviled and then he blessed- the last thing in the world you would ever want to do at that time, but the most effective for his witness and example. His flesh was humbled so he exalted it with godly things. He made progress to be like Jesus and he won souls to Christ.
Humility is not easy. There are hard lessons to be learned. It is the way to get more of God and less of us. It is just something we should want to do. Your cells of your body all submit to what the body wants and they work together to make the body alive. They have decided that the larger purpose is best. If each cell did whatever it wanted then we wouldn’t survive. We have humility in us that way, to submit to unity and to God. If we had one purpose and leader, like Jesus, and followed Him with all our heart we would live forever.