1 Corinthians 3:1-4
“But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?”
When is the last time you saw a baby?
Have you ever tried to give a small baby a juicy steak or a juicy Honeycrisp apple? Why not?
What do you think would happen if you tried to talk to a 6 month old about health insurance, algebra, WWII, or all of the different family dynamics present in your family??
In this 3rd chapter of Corinthians Paul makes 2 interesting but significant claims for us to observe and apply.
- The Corinthians are still of the flesh and yet infants in Christ.
Friends, when you become a Christian things change. You are “born again” (which implies you are a baby right??). However, as a baby in Christ you do not immediately know what it means to follow Jesus or live a life pleasing to him. As a matter of fact you will probably (in the newborn stage of being a Christian) desire to do much of the same stuff you wanted as a non-believer. In some sense you are in the process of shedding the cocoon of your old self and living into your new identity as a child of the King.
Growing into a mature Christian comes through your intimate connection with God the “Father”, the everyday surrender to the Holy Spirit in your life who comforts and teaches you, studying His living Word and your ongoing relationships with other (“older”) brothers and sisters in Christ (to name a few).
Paul here is slightly upset because the church in Corinth should be beyond the “newborn” stage. They should already be eating solid food, not milk!
Are you eating solid food or simply satisfied with milk?
Know that the purpose of milk is to move you toward eating solid food eventually.
- Major signs that you are of the flesh: pride, jealousy and strife/quarreling/fighting.
Picture little children fighting over a toy for a moment.
“I want it!”
This is the image I have of the church in Corinth. Little babies or infants who can barely speak and should be eating solid spiritual food, yet they fight over trivial things saying, “Well I belong to Paul so HA!” and other Corinthians say “Oh yea, well I belong to Apollos!” These people are boasting in there connection to someone other than God. This has pride written all over it and Paul says this is not spiritual!!
In this passage Paul is bringing together two themes we have already seen in Corinthians – Unity and living in the Spirit instead of the flesh/worldly wisdom.
Friends, as the family of Christ we are to be unified. This doesn’t mean there may not be disagreements, but they are always in love and pursuing the heart of God: in intimate relationship with Him as we allow Him to dwell in us.
Are you prideful, jealous or fighting? Are your intentions selfish?
Do you even desire more than milk?
Notice that there is an intention to no longer be “merely human” or fleshly. Paul expects that we can live up to the standard God has set for us, through intimate relationship with Jesus.
What would Paul think of you if he were writing you a letter today?