Hey! Justin Here, I’ll be your tour guide through the next 5 chapters of 1 Corinthians. Buckle in, you’re in for an adventure. And now our first stop, 1 Corinthians 4. (I apologize for this intro)
I went to a psychologist a few times last year. I was having a hard time, and I needed some help. I went a few times and it was helpful. The most helpful thing I learned was that I primarily define myself externally, by what others think of me.
As someone like that, I can’t get over the first 5 verses here in Chapter 4. The Message version puts it in a way that I really love — check it out:
Don’t imagine us leaders to be something we aren’t. We are servants of Christ, not his masters. We are guides into God’s most sublime secrets, not security guards posted to protect them. The requirements for a good guide are reliability and accurate knowledge. It matters very little to me what you think of me, even less where I rank in popular opinion. I don’t even rank myself. Comparisons in these matters are pointless. I’m not aware of anything that would disqualify me from being a good guide for you, but that doesn’t mean much. The Master makes that judgment.
As I sat in an upright chair (not laying on a chaise lounge as I had assumed from the depiction in ALL MOVIES). I learned that there is a balance in how we define ourselves. People like me are depending on others to let them know who they are, others are defined within from what they think of themselves. One extreme isn’t better than the other. If you’re way over on the self-defined side you don’t care what people think to the extent that you can hurt people and not care. (i.e. This is me, if you don’t like it you can shove it!) They can often leave a path of destruction behind them. Or, on the other end you are crippled by people pleasing, and if everyone isn’t happy with you, then you can’t be happy with yourself. The problem here is that it is IMPOSSIBLE for everyone to be happy with you, so you’ll never be happy as a result.
I imagine that if Paul were my registered psychologist, he would take his glasses off, place one end in his mouth and tell me a third way of being — not one of being defined from within or defined externally — but being defined by God’s opinion.
Now we’re cooking with gas.
Paul knows he’s not there to please everyone. He’s not there to be perfect. He’s not there even to guard or protect himself or God. Rather, he says he’s a steward of God’s beautiful mysteries. He’s there to reveal to people the mysteries of God in Christ!
He’s made it his joy to be a servant of Christ, and He lets go of the idea that human judgment of him matters.
He even goes as far to say: I don’t even judge myself!
Wow, that’s a good line.
“I don’t mind if you judge me. I’ve stopped caring about judging a long time ago. So much so that I don’t even judge myself” (My paraphrase)
Imagine that. He doesn’t look in the mirror and judge the flab on his love handles. He doesn’t condemn himself for saying the wrong thing and making himself look stupid. He turned off the inner critic in our minds that often plague us.
He’s content leaving the opinions of himself to God and that is it.
I quite like this scripture. What if I stopped caring so much about people pleasing and cared more to reveal to them the beautiful mysteries of God — i.e. that God loves the world.
What if I didn’t even judge myself? What if I turned off that inner monologue of self loathing? What if I left all the judging to God. I will live in a way that cares more about what He thinks than of how I even think of myself.