Each of us knows the feeling. Someone we know and care about does something that does not line up with God’s Word, and we immediately face a dilemma.
Do we mention it or let it go? If we pursue the matter, will we appear overzealous and even judgmental? Yet if we ignore it and play along, we may risk damaging something far greater and more precious than our appearance in the eyes of others. We risk harming our fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is the situation the young Corinthian church faced. They had grown in their faith but had allowed a serious sin to go unchallenged. Not only this, but jealousy, strife, and other transgressions were on the increase within the fellowship.
Sensing the urgency of the situation, the apostle Paul wrote First Corinthians as a strong reminder to the church that their commitment to Jesus Christ must not be a diluted one. “I…could not speak to you as spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet about to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3 NASB).
Paul’s words ushered in a defining moment within the church body. They had been saved under his ministry, and the apostle was not about to wink at their error. He had been commissioned by God to carry the Gospel message to the cities in Asia Minor. And it was time for the Corinthian church to grow up spiritually and turn from the entrapping desires by surrendering their lives, hopes, and dreams to the Lord Jesus Christ. In essence, it was time for them to become mighty in Spirit and not just mighty in works and deeds.
What does it mean to become mighty in spirit? There are several characteristics to the life of a person who is mighty in spirit. First and foremost, the focus of his or her heart is set on Jesus Christ.
The Corinthian church desired this, but they had a problem that needed to be addressed. Sin had gained a foothold in the congregation and they were avoiding the issue. Instead of confronting the problem and those involved, they ignored it. This only hampered their spiritual growth and devotion to the Lord. When sin is present and left unchecked, it will draw you away from the will of God.
The only way to deal with sin is to confront it. As a young man, long before he became king of Israel, David faced a tremendous foe. Goliath, the famed Philistine warrior, was commissioned to destroy God’s servant. But David knew God would not allow this to happen. Instead of cowering in fear, David stood boldly before Goliath and shouted, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down . . .” (1 Samuel 17:45-46).
There is eternal strength tucked away in godly innocence that each of us can discover. God’s infinite power rested over David’s life not because of his physical ability but because of his spiritual devotion to the Lord. God not only gave David the victory, he taught Israel a mighty lesson of faith – one we still are learning from today.
God gives each of us an opportunity to become mighty in spirit. You, just like David, will face many Goliaths throughout your lifetime. Some will bring tremendous victories. Each will demand an act of courage and commitment on your part. Always remember, no matter what you face, God is with you. If your faith is weakened and you feel as though the enemy will overcome you, never hesitate to cry out to God. He is forever near you and will answer your call.
The Corinthian church had the same opportunity that David had. Though their Goliath was not a physical giant, the issue of sin in their fellowship meant sure defeat if they failed to remove it. Learning how to deal with sin is only one facet of becoming mighty in spirit. There are many more. Some lead to a pathway of deep spiritual devotion where you forsake and relinquish your desires in order to achieve God’s will. This cannot be done on your own. Godly submission is not a result of human effort. Only the Spirit of God can move a man or a woman to lay aside their lives in such a way that they can enjoy Christ’s sweet fellowship within the throne room of God.
If your desire is to know God in a more intimate way, ask the Lord to prepare your heart and move you into a position where you can learn what it means to become mighty in spirit. Over the next eleven months, we will study some of the lives of God’s greatest servants. Each life will provide a window of understanding into what it means to live in deep devotion to Jesus Christ. God’s goal is to bring you into an intimate relationship with Himself. This is the cornerstone of the life of a person who is mighty in spirit.