1 Corinthians 3 (The Message Version unless otherwise noted)
1-4But for right now, friends, I’m completely frustrated by your unspiritual dealings with each other and with God. You’re acting like infants in relation to Christ, capable of nothing much more than nursing at the breast. Well, then, I’ll nurse you since you don’t seem capable of anything more. 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?
Jesus, that describes me perfectly! By my count I have been following you for about 38 years now, and I am still all about what makes me feel good and look important! Will I never grow up? I am so ashamed of so many parts of my life Lord. I have experienced being a servant once in a while. I know it is pleasing to You and I know it is extremely satisfying to me. yet in an instance I become self-centered and worried only about me. Help me Lord. Help me grow up!
When one of you says, “I’m on Paul’s side,” and another says, “I’m for Apollos,” aren’t you being totally infantile? 5-9Who do you think Paul is, anyway? Or Apollos, for that matter? Servants, both of us—servants who waited on you as you gradually learned to entrust your lives to our mutual Master. We each carried out our servant assignment. I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow. It’s not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of this process but God, who makes things grow. Planting and watering are menial servant jobs at minimum wages. What makes them worth doing is the God we are serving. You happen to be God’s field in which we are working.
Jesus, I know I am not worthy of even doing a menial task, but please use me. Help me make some small difference in someone’s life, if that is Your will. Help me be humble enough to do the lowest of Your tasks. Help me to be a servant, so You, and to everyone around me.
And Lord, make me grow to. I know I am Your field. I know I need a lot of growing. I know You send others to water and work in me. Please Lord, time is running short. Make me grow. Change me please!
9-15Or, to put it another way, you are God’s house. Using the gift God gave me as a good architect, I designed blueprints; Apollos is putting up the walls. Let each carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation! Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ. Take particular care in picking out your building materials. Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you’ll be found out. The inspection will be thorough and rigorous. You won’t get by with a thing. If your work passes inspection, fine; if it doesn’t, your part of the building will be torn out and started over. But you won’t be torn out; you’ll survive—but just barely.
Father, fill me with Your goodness so I can build with good materials. Change me Father. Find the evil in me. Find my dark corners and bring them into Your light. Change me Father. Make me good from within so I can be truly good to others. Change my heart Father. Change me.
16-17You realize, don’t you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you? No one will get by with vandalizing God’s temple, you can be sure of that. God’s temple is sacred—and you, remember, are the temple.
Jesus, It is very hard for me to see myself as Your temple. Why would You choose to live in me? And I have vandalized Your temple. I have committed sins that have brought shame to Your temple and harmed it. Lord, help me to remember that I take You with me wherever I go. And help me to treat my body like a sacred temple, making it fit for the King!
18-20Don’t fool yourself. Don’t think that you can be wise merely by being up-to-date with the times. Be God’s fool—that’s the path to true wisdom. What the world calls smart, God calls stupid. It’s written in Scripture,
He exposes the chicanery of the chic.
The Master sees through the smoke screens
of the know-it-alls.
Jesus, please make me Your fool. Help me to follow You and only You. Help me to live in Your wisdom and leave the world’s wisdom behind. Help me to see through the smoke and mirrors the devil and live only for You. Help me be wise in You and a fool in the world. Change me.
21-23I don’t want to hear any of you bragging about yourself or anyone else. Everything is already yours as a gift—Paul, Apollos, Peter, the world, life, death, the present, the future—all of it is yours, and you are privileged to be in union with Christ, who is in union with God.
Jesus, help me remember I live in union with You. Help me remember we are one. Help me trust You and respect You and love You and do Your will. Help me to live in Your power and mercy, because we are one!