In First Corinthians, the Apostle Paul exhorts the Corinthian church to be laborers together: “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:9). There are many things the first century church had right, but there are many things they did not have right. How quickly the Corinthian church forgot God’s call to go and make disciples of all nations. We forget quickly too! Let’s look at what hindered the church from laboring together:
Childish Traits (1 Corinthians 3:1–2)
Here we see the Apostle Paul’s pacifying instruction. He had to speak to them in a childlike way. He desired for them to grow up in a Christian way, but he had to soften the content of his message—from meat to milk. In verse two, Paul indicates that time had passed and these believers should have grown, but they still were not ready for the meat of the Word.
Carnal Thoughts (1 Corinthians 3:3)
In verse three, we find Paul naming their carnal habits—envying, strife, and divisions. He goes on to say they “walk as men.” You could not tell a Christian from an unbeliever. It is a mistake to think a new convert will suddenly act like a mature believer, but the point is that fleshly and worldly living stunts the growth of a Christian.
Competitive Talk (1 Corinthians 3:4–8)
Competition kills the work of God. When we begin naming names and giving praise, we set up a certain amount of competition among ourselves. The Bible says we should give honor to whom honor is due (Romans 13:7), but we must be careful not to create an environment where people get offended because their name is not mentioned or they are not recognized. God is the One who “gives the increase.”
Steps to Stop These Hindrances
1. Examine your own pace of growth regularly. How is your walk with the Lord? Is it growing or stagnant?
2. Expand your knowledge of the big picture. God gives the increase.
3. Envision your reward at the end of life. Get busy planting and watering God’s harvest. Lay up treasures in Heaven and stop worrying about what everyone else is doing here on earth.