A Careful Walk with God
A Careful Walk with God
Words of Faith 6-23-17
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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1 Corinthians 10
For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea.  They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.  They all ate the same spiritual food  and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.  Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.
 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.  Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry."  We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did--and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died.  We should not test the Lord, as some of them did--and were killed by snakes.  And do not grumble, as some of them did--and were killed by the destroying angel.
The Corinthian believers might easily have assumed that they would never be disciplined by the Lord. They were complacent. After all, they had experienced such remarkable blessing from God. They had been enriched in Him in every way (1:5). Why would God ever turn against them?
But Paul saw the situation quite differently. He did not want the Corinthian believers to be in ignorant in such an assumption. The truth is that the Lord disciplines those He loves. He punishes everyone that He accepts as a child (Heb. 12:6).
Paul outlined a sobering parallel with the Children of Israel. The Israelites also had been greatly blessed by God but yet also experienced His severe discipline. The Israelites had gained unprecedented physical and spiritual freedom, but then were reckless and unrestrained after escaping from the tyranny in Egypt. As a result God applied severe discipline by cutting short the lives of many Israelites. They were all in the "race", but almost all were disqualified in spite of their advantages (9:24, 27).
The presence of supernatural privileges in the lives of Old Testament Israelites did not produce automatic success. On the contrary, in spite of their special advantages, most of them experienced God's discipline, were disqualified, and died in the desert (Num. 14:29). All but two members of one generation, Joshua and Caleb, were punished. Even Moses was disqualified for the prize (Num. 20:12). In light of this, Paul lifted the need for personal self-discipline (1 Cor. 9:27).
The Corinthians' complacency in matters of self-discipline and their corresponding penchant for self-indulgence required immediate remedial action. Christian freedom was not meant to lead to self-indulgence but to selfless service. As Paul wrote to the Galatians believers-- "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love" (5:13).
The instruction was clear-- Do not do as the Israelites did. Do not fall into idolatry and sexual immorality. Do not test the Lord and do not grumble. These were the paths that could result in the discipline of the Lord and disqualify the Corinthian believers from the race that they had begun.
Many today have enjoyed similar blessing from God. God has been good to bring us out of bondage and deliver us with great favor. But we should not assume that this means we will not be disciplined by the Lord if we abuse that freedom or turn away from Him. We also must be vigilant to avoid idolatry and sexual immorality. We must make every effort to walk carefully. We must not test the Lord or grumble against Him.
How is your race going? Are you in strict training? Are you running so as to get the prize? Or are you running aimlessly? Are you beating the air? Are you disciplining your body so that you will not need to be disciplined by the Lord? Are you doing everything possible to avoid idolatry and sexual immorality? Are you shunning those actions that test God and the grumbling that puts our hearts far from His?
Father, show me the careful walk of disciplined living. Teach me the way that is as close as Your breath. Keep me on the path that You have set out for me that I may take hold of the prize that You have set before me. In Jesus' Name.