Mere Men

Posted onCategoriesTerri's Thoughts

I haven’t ever said it, but I have thought it….why don’t you grow up?  You are acting so childish?  I have thought it about my children, who are, duh, children, growing up!  In my case, when I demand them to be more than they are, I was setting the bar too high for them.

Today I was challenged by a new thought relative to setting the bar too high…

As believers Paul has admonished us similarly in I Corinthians 3:3 where he asks the Corinthians, “Are you not walking like mere men?”

Well, that question seems to parallel my question to my children, why are you acting so childish?  I have to stop and wonder what Paul was thinking when he wrote that phrase—walking like mere men.  I don’t know about you but I am a mere man, or in this case a mere woman.   I don’t have the super human strength of a super hero, or the mental capacity of some computer. I am a mere man, but dust.

If we can take the Bible at it’s every word, then we must believe Paul when he challenges the Corinthians, and thus us as believers, to not walk as mere men.  What constitutes walking as better than mere men?  His contrast in I Corinthians 3 paints a clear picture of what is expected.

  • Men of flesh
  • Babes in Christ
  • Milk to drink
  • Still fleshly
  • Jealousy and strife among you
  • One says I am of Paul, another says I am of Apollos

Compared to:

  • Spiritual men
  • Able to eat solid food
  • Implied not fleshly
  • No jealousy and strife among you
  • All of Christ

He didn’t elaborate a lot in this letter, but he has previously listed lists which can humble even Saint Teresa in other portions of his writings to the early Church.

I don’t know about you but this opens my eyes to my capabilities; whereas before I have excused a lot of my own behavior as just the way I am, human nature.  Apparently, God has other plans for us.  He sees us as super strong Christ-followers who can tap into His wisdom at any moment.

So why don’t I? In fact, why do all of the people I know walk as mere men?

I could easily say it is because we aren’t studying His word; we didn’t know. But I confess that I have read that scripture at least 100 times over the last 30 years of my walk with the Lord and it never occurred to me that I was capable of behaving anything different than a mere man.

I knew I should let the grace of our Lord Jesus shine through my life.

I knew to give Him the reins in my decision making and in use of my time, resources and talents. But this is more.  I am capable of behaving different than mere man.

I have recently said about one of my female family members, “She was dealt a different deck of cards to play with in this game of life.  She didn’t get the same deck you and I got.”    Did God short change “her?”  I said it to somehow excuse her life of poor choices that tragically resulted in her early death.  But what does that say about my worldview. Am I limiting God?  If He put it in His word, I either believe it is true or I don’t.

If I don’t believe this admonishment, then what else is at stake?  Well, a whole bunch—undefiled marriage beds, fathers don’t provoke your children, or how about “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by Me.”

This is painful.  It is occurring to me that I sort of like living as a mere man.  I sort of like having one foot in this world and one in the next.  But both feet in this world while my heart and actions and soul are in the next?

I have always dismissed the Gnostics of the early Church as shallow thinkers, irrational, not worthy of my consideration.  Yet in fact, my rose colored glasses are off, I now see that I often live like a Gnostic, where my knowledge doesn’t affect my actions.

Unfortunately I am not alone in this problem. I am joined by an army from our Christian society. My friend’s mother-in-law often refers to her 32 year old grandson as having such a good heart. Well, that is a Gnostic statement.  He may have a good heart but only God can see his heart; friends and family alike see his actions, and they are anything but good—even by the world’s low standards.

Today is the day. Today all past goals and visions have been shunned as filthy rags ( Isaiah …) in order to embrace the new goal of walking out my Christian journey on this earth as more than mere man.  I confess I don’t completely know what that looks like, but for today, God has given me some direction as the first things that need to be cleaned out of my soul—my mind, my life and my passions.