‘We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.’ — 1 Corinthians 4:10
When Satan told Christ he would give Him all the kingdoms of the world if He would fall down and worship him, he was hoping that Christ would choose the crown before the cross. Jesus didn’t. He showed us that God’s plan involves the path of suffering before the path of glory.
A similar temptation faces us as well. We can want the kingdom and the riches of Christ’s kingdom without the suffering and the cross God expects us to right now.
This was the rebuke Paul had for the Corinthians. They were boasting about their wisdom, strength, and honour, while Paul was boasting about his foolishness, weakness, and humility.
He elaborated on how much he and the other apostles suffered (v.9-13) to show they that they were valuing the wrong thing and filled with pride (v.6).
So often, we look at the successful, wealthy, and important people of this world and we desire to be like them. Yet, the path of the disciple is one of dying, suffering, humility, and self-sacrifice. We should look to people like Paul who gave up much to serve Jesus and follow him (v.16).
Never has there been a time when it is more tempting to try to live like a little king of our own lives. But we must resist the pull to look out for ourselves and be willing: to become a fool for Christ’s sake, to suffer hunger and thirst for the cause of Christ, to be buffeted, to have no certain dwellingplace, to labour, to be reviled, to be persecuted, to be defamed, to be thought of as the filth and offscouring of the world.
Where is our cross? Let us deny ourselves and joyfully pick it up again. One day the crown may come, but for now, we ought to humbly die once again.