2 Corinthians 2:16 An Aroma Of Life And Death

“To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task?” 1 Corinthians 2:16

Just before this verse Paul stated that all believers are led as captives by God in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses believers to spread an aroma of Him everywhere. Christ is showing believers off to the world and to Satan. He had triumphed over death and brought all to life.

The devil thought he had beat Jesus when Jesus died on the cross, but three days later He arose in triumph. Whenever a person starts to believe in Jesus, it just shows the victory that He has over the devil and the world.

As a believer walks around in this world, he will bring an aroma with him. To most people, this aroma will be one of condemnation and death. God is trying to reach the lost. His Holy Spirit is working at convicting them of their sins. It is for this reason that the world hates Christians. All believers bring about a conviction that goes against what those in the world believe. The world feels that believers will bring them death. If they become believers they will no longer be able to live the “fun” life they are living of sin.

When one believer is around another believer they both smell the aroma of life. They know that there is hope, life, and a future in Jesus. Yes as a believer, they will have to give up some things, but it will be worth it in the end.

Think of it like when you are around someone who has on some very strong perfume. After a while you walk away, but the aroma of that perfume is still with you. Others can smell that perfume on you.

As you go through life, what aroma are you bringing to those you are around? If you are following Jesus, you should be bringing the aroma He has.

Do not be surprised when some think of it as death, while others enjoy it because it is of life. It is death to sin, and an opening to eternal life.

I pray today that you will smell of the life Jesus gives; that others will be drawn to that life in Jesus; that God will strengthen you to turn from all sin; and that God will build His kingdom through you.

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1 Corinthians 16:13 Be On Guard

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13

Paul is closing out his first letter to the Corinthian church. He gives his last final advice to them as a warning and as an encouragement.

First, is to be on guard. As a believer, the world will be against you. Satan wants to get you to fail or stop believing in Jesus. You have to be ready for the enemy when he shows up. You also must be able to recognize the works of the enemy. If you are not awake and watching, (as Jesus stated), you will be caught off guard and tripped.

Second, you are to stand firm in your faith. You must know what you believe and stand on that. Do not allow the world or others change your views on who Jesus is and who you are in Jesus. Yes you have messed up in the past but you have been forgiven and are now a child of a King and are being saved.

Third, you are to be courageous. In this life you are in a war. It is a war for your soul and the souls of everyone else. There are two sides to this war, God’s and Satan’s. You must be willing to face the enemy when he shows up. Know that God is on your side and you will win in the end. Do not fear the roaring lion of the enemy. Do what needs to be done for God.

Finally, you are to be strong. With God all things are possible. Greater is He who is in you than he that is in the world. God has filled you with His Holy Spirit to give you the strength that you need, now use it, stand in it. Do not back down. You have already run part of the race, do not give up.

Victory is coming. The war is almost over. Know that you know that you know you are saved and you will win the war against the enemy with God on your side.

I pray today that God will help you see the tactics of the enemy; that you will not waver in your belief in Jesus; that you will have courage to face the enemy; that you will be strong in the Lord; and that God will bring you the victory.

1 Corinthians 15:58 Keep Working

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

Death was just shown to have no power or sting. In Jesus, a person can know that even if he physically dies, he will be raised to life again. This is because of the victory each believer has in Jesus. With this in mind Paul now says to not let anything move you and to continue to do the work for the Lord.

Being moved is getting discouraged, changing your course, or doing something different. It is not following the path you started on.

When you are driving down the road, you are headed to a specific location on a specific path. Suddenly there is major road construction ahead and you are turned off the road for a detour. You are moved off your path. While when driving you must take that path, in life, the world will try to get you to take the detour. You must not allow that to happen. Keep going on the path God has for you.

This is where you must continue to work hard at the task God has given you. Despite all the road blocks and challenges, the work will be worth it in the end. All of your hard work for Jesus will not be in vain. The end result will be life eternally in heaven with God.

Your old self must die so that it can be resurrected into a new life. This can be found in the work of Jesus and the work you do for Him. Working for the Lord will always be against what the world wants.

Do not allow yourself to get tired or discouraged and give up. Remember that Jesus did die for you and did rise from the dead for you. Some day you will walk on streets of gold with no more sorrow, sickness, or pain. The struggles and pain you are going through today will all be gone forever. Keep on working for the Lord.

I pray today that you will know the work God has for you to do; that God will give you the strength to do the work; that you will know the hope you have in Christ Jesus; and that you will not allow anything to move you.

1 Corinthians 15:34 Get Back To Your Senses

“Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God–I say this to your shame.” 1 Corinthians 15:34

Paul had just stated a good argument about life after death. He now tells the people to get back to their senses and to stop sinning. They are to stop ignoring God.

As this passage is read, remember who he is talking to. He is speaking to the people in the church. These are believers, followers of Jesus. These are supposed to be the good, holy people of God, servants of God. This is why it is “to their shame” that he makes this statement.

This sinning is not the accidental sudden slip of a single sin. It is the lifestyle of sin. It is the repeating of a sin over and over again and again.

There are people in the church who refuse to give up certain sins. Often they state that it is just something small, or that it is a part of them that they cannot stop. Others will state that it really does not affect them at all. Sin is sin, regardless of how big or small it is. All sin puts a person in danger of death and separation from God.

Do not ignore God’s Holy Spirit trying to guide you into God’s ways. Be willing to turn from all sin. No one, not even the devil, can force you to sin. Doing a sin is a personal choice that you make.

Paul says get to your senses and just stop sinning. If you come to your senses and realize who God is and what Jesus has done for you, it only makes sense that you would choose to just stop sinning. Refuse to give into your personal evil desires that the devil wants you to do.

If you focus on God and doing things for God, you will not have time to think or do any sin. God will keep you busy with His work for you on this earth.

I pray today that God will guide you by His Holy Spirit in what sins you are doing; that you will keep your eyes on Jesus; that you will seek to do only what God wants you to do; and that you will turn away from all sin and temptation to sin.

1 Corinthians 15:33 Bad Company

“Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33

Paul had been talking about living, dying and raising from the dead. If there is no resurrection, then there is no purpose in life. At that point one is to just have as much fun as he can while living, since there is no life after death. However, as a believer, one knows that is not the truth.

Now he gives a warning to not be misled. This phrase has been repeated by people over all of history, even to this day: “bad company corrupts good character”.

People are constantly misled by ignoring this warning. Parents have allowed their children to be around another family whose children are of bad character. They think that their children will influence the bad character of the other and change them. Most often it is the other way around, the good character becomes bad.

Good character will not change to bad instantly. It will happen over a longer period of time. Even as an adult, a person will change. Often a man who never curses will go into the Army. While in the Army he is around a massive amount of accepted cursing. Over several years of this, suddenly his language becomes laced with cursing, sometimes to more excess than others.

You will become what you are around. The world is looking at eat, drink, and be merry. God is looking at building you up like Jesus and drawing more to Jesus to save them. Who will you be around?

If you are making your company most often with other believers, you will be encouraged to continue to follow Jesus and do ministry.

This is not to say that you never be around non-believers. You must be around them some to be a witness to them. The difference is who do you hang around with to relax? Who do you spend the most time with? What is the purpose of you being around the people you are with?

Seek God to have the correct balance. Do not allow yourself to be caught up in the ways of this world. Do not forget that you have a future in heaven with life forever.

I pray today that God will reveal who your good friends are and who are only of this world; that God will strengthen you to be His witness; that you will not be influenced by this world; and that you will influence others for Jesus.

1 Corinthians 15:19 Future Hope

“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” 1 Corinthians 15:19

Many people all over the world believe that Jesus had existed and was a great teacher and that He died. The majority of people do not believe that He rose from the dead. With this type of thought it leaves no hope for the future.

Often, even believers tend to start to question the belief in Jesus. This is because the world all around them already questions the truth about Jesus.

Paul makes it very clear that if Jesus did not raise from the dead then every believer is still in his sins. At that point every believer is to be pitied more than any other person in the world. Why would a person subject himself to very limited lifestyle of discipline only for this life? Why would you turn from “sin” if there is no reward?

There are times believers struggle with why they are subjecting themselves to living the Christian lifestyle. They wonder about the value of living a strict lifestyle. This gets very difficult when you see the world being successful and prospering in sin.

As a believer you must keep your eyes focused on Jesus. You must know that Jesus did die and did rise from the dead. The purpose of His dying was to pay for your sins. In order for the payment to be completed for you, He had to raise from the dead.

As you are going through struggles each day, which there will be many, remember that Jesus rose from the dead for you. In the end, after death, you will have life forever.

Do not allow yourself to be discouraged or fearful. Since Jesus rose from the dead, you will also be raised from the dead, if you believe in Jesus. Be encouraged that you have a future hope that outweighs any retirement plan the world can offer.

I pray today that you will know in your heart that Jesus rose from the dead; that you will know that Jesus will raise you some day from the dead; that God will remove all fear of death and the future in your life; and that God will fill your life with joy knowing your future.

1 Corinthians 14:20 Mature Thinking

“Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.” 1 Corinthians 14:20

Right after a chapter talking about love, speaking in tongues is talked about with speaking prophecies. Then comes this statement to not think like a child. It almost seems like a sudden rebuke against the people, but as with all Scripture there is a reason for it.

Think about how children think. They are often selfish, dishonoring to other children, angry, believing their way is best, wanting everything, and wanting to be the center of attention, and yet innocent is what is actually evil. These thoughts and actions are just the opposite of what love is.

Now when Paul talks about speaking in tongues and prophecies he tells the people to stop being like the children. Evidently the people in the Corinthian church were seeking only to speak in tongues. This is something different and no one can really judge what was said, because it is an unknown tongue. It is a safe area to do.

Speaking in tongues is great for the individual between him and God, and also a sign for those who do not believe yet. The problem is that it does nothing for anyone else that is a believer. As a part of the church you are supposed to build up other believers up. This cannot be done with words that they cannot understand. This is where prophecy comes in.

Do not think that by just doing certain ministries or using certain gifts that you are the best and everyone else must follow that way. God uses each person differently and in different ways.

Your thinking must be on how to build up others in Jesus. What is the best way to lift them up? What is the best way to point them to Jesus? What is the best way to encourage them? Think in these ways.

I pray today that God will reveal to you ways to build the others in the church up; that God will use you with speaking in tongues as a sign to unbelievers; that God will use you with prophecies as a sign to believers; and that God’s church will grow through you.