1 Corinthians 4:6-7. I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. 7 For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
What do you have that you did not receive?
Herein lies the humility of “to live is Christ” – because Christ is in me and I am in Christ, everything I have I received from Christ.
Result: no more boasting, except in Christ and his cross.
Everything is a gift. Everything. Those of us who want to live from Christ’s life must embrace the reality of this grace. How do you know that you haven’t embraced this reality? Look at your divisions. Look at your boasting. Look at the sides you’ve chosen. Look at how you compare yourself to others in your own mind.
Who sees anything different in you?
Or in other words “what makes you so special?” Was not your salvation by grace through faith alone like everyone else’s? And didn’t you receive the Spirit by grace alone? What about Christ’s indwelling life? Isn’t it by sheer grace also? The resurrection? You didn’t raise yourself, it is the gift of God.
If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
Paul is challenging our idols. He hears and sees their boasting from afar, and he knows that they are not boasting in Christ, but in themselves and their “super-spirituality.” They boast in knowledge as if they obtained it. They boast in gifts as if their piety earned them. They boast in their freedom as it it were license.
You see our biggest problem is not low self esteem. I know the world wants us to think this, that we all have a self esteem problem. Solution- build up everyone’s self esteem. But this is not how Paul sees the problem in Corinth. They are far from having a low self esteem, they are flat out proud… and boasting. And if we are honest we will see that this is our problem too. Not thinking too low of ourselves, but often thinking too highly of ourselves.
“To live is Christ” removes all boasting in anything but Christ, because all is from Christ. Everything you have, Christian, is from Christ. From your very breath to your spiritual intuition, it is all of Christ. Your home and your faith. Your ministry and your love for those you minister to. It’s all of grace. You’ve earned nothing, and you never will. Whatever it is that you are boasting in each day- it’s a gift. Get on your knees and be thankful.
What are you boasting in these days? Is it Christ alone? Are you able to see everything in your life as a gift, connected to your union with Christ? Are you a thankful person or a bragging person? How can the cross change your boasting today?