1 Corinthians 4 … Consider Him Who Brings to Light the Dark and Hidden Motives of Our Hearts

Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God, (4:5).

Corinth was a thriving city, both economically and culturally. Situated on the coast with its two harbors meant there was a constant influx of travelers, commercial traders and so-called great thinkers. It was also known for its many pagan temples, which included prostitution as a part of their temple worship. Needless to say, immorality was rampant. And unfortunately, as culture has a tendency to do, with its ideologies and ways so contrary to the gospel, it had made its way into this body of new converts.

The church was made up of new believers, spiritual infants and babies; and like most babies, they were needy, impatient, easily distracted and in desperate need of instruction. But perhaps, the lure of a commercially thriving city and respected philosophers divided their focus. Perhaps their city, being positioned where such emphasis was placed on both wealth and worldly wisdom, camouflaged their ability to see beyond what the mind’s eye can ascertain. And in the comforts of plenty, false theology was fostered; and along with false theology, pride. And their pride stiffened their necks towards Paul’s authority.

Prideful, critical, unsubmissive spirits do not a healthy church make; yet another problem Paul found necessary to confront in the Corinthian church.

But before we get up on our own high horse (in judgment of this messed up church), we best hope the reality of our own hearts will cause us to dismount, and quickly.

“The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?”
(Jeremiah 17:9).

Scripture says our hearts are sick; so sick we can’t even begin to fathom how sick. And because we lack understanding, we often excuse it or even embrace it.

In humility, Paul applies this truth of the propensity towards deceitful pride to himself and Apollos; reminding the Corinthians that any and every blessing they possessed was in fact a gift, and not deserved.

Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other. For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? (4:6-7).

And the bottom line… get off your high horse. Stop looking down on others and stop thinking so highly of yourself; because there is only One Who truly knows; only One Who Brings to Light the Dark and Hidden Motives of Our Hearts.

Consider Him Who Brings to Light the Dark and Hidden Motives of Our Hearts

“The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?
10 I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give to each man according to his ways,
According to the results of his deeds,”
(Jeremiah 17:9-10).

He has not kept it a secret; He searches and tests every heart and mind; because we need the help only He can provide for our dark, deceitful and desperately sick hearts. He has repeatedly informed us of His focus, it is and always has been the heart; for from the heart proceeds our motives, thoughts, attitudes and actions.

“But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. 20 These are the things which defile the man…” (Matthew 15:18-20).

He judges our thoughts and feelings, even before they become words or actions. He knows every secret we try to hide in the dark. But there is no hiding, at all. He has repeatedly told us, He Brings to Light the Dark and Hidden Motives of the Heart; and we know when God repeats Himself, we better sit up and listen, and respond.

… for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart,” (1 Samuel 16:7).

… for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men, (1 Kings 8:39).

…For the righteous God tries the hearts and minds, (Psalm 7:9).

…For He knows the secrets of the heart, (Psalm 44:21).

…You understand my thought from afar…
Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all,
(Psalm 139:2, 4).

Every man’s way is right in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs the hearts,
(Proverbs 21:2).

Lord of hosts, who judges righteously,
Who tries the feelings and the heart…
(Jeremiah 11:20).

Yet, O Lord of hosts, You who test the righteous,
Who see the mind and the heart;
(Jeremiah 20:12).

And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? (Matthew 9:4).

“…and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds,” (Revelation 2:23).

How do we respond to Him Who Brings to Light the Dark and Hidden Motives of Our Hearts?

We know He knows, and we know we can’t hide. But isn’t that what we often do? Hide our own sins behind the presumed sins of another.

Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand, (Romans 14:4).

And even though we know He alone has the right to judge, somehow next to that other person, we think we look better in His sight. But the truth is, when we engage in comparative righteousness, we know He knows, and we know we can’t hide.

And in humility and honesty, we must depend, by faith on Him to Bring to Light the Dark and Hidden Motives of Our Hearts.

We most open Our Hearts to His searching; and we know His Word, where no creature is hidden, is the Perfect Provision He employs to Bring to Light the Dark and Hidden Motives of Our Hearts.

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do, (Hebrews 4:12-13).

And in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, He demonstrates God’s heart of love, the caring action of our devoted Father, faithful to disclose everything that must come into the Light.

I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. (4:14).

My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord
Or loathe His reproof,
12 For whom the Lord loves He reproves,
Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights,
(Proverbs 3:11-12).

In humility, may we depend, by faith on Him to transform our hearts and minds through His Word, and to remove the influences of our own culture as He Brings to Light the Dark and Hidden Motives of Our Hearts.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect, (Romans 12:2).

And we must also trust Him to Bring to Light the Dark and Hidden Motives of every believer’s Heart. Let us not fix our focus on the perceived shortcomings in others instead of seeking His will and correction for ourselves. As we concern ourselves with what He has Brought to Light in Our own Heart, we can trust Him to do the same in others. As we entrust His children into His faithful hands, we can focus on following Him in His everlasting way, until we come to the time we will receive our praise from Him.

 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way,
(Psalm 139:23-24).

Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God, (4:5).

Let’s Grow Together!

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