Monday Devotional: January 9, 2023



Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 (CEB)

1 From Paul, called by God’s will to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, and from Sosthenes our brother. 2 To God’s church that is in Corinth: To those who have been made holy to God in Christ Jesus, who are called to be God’s people. Together with all those who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place—he’s their Lord and ours! 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 I thank my God always for you, because of God’s grace that was given to you in Christ Jesus. 5 That is, you were made rich through him in everything: in all your communication and every kind of knowledge, 6 in the same way that the testimony about Christ was confirmed with you. 7 The result is that you aren’t missing any spiritual gift while you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8 He will also confirm your testimony about Christ until the end so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, and you were called by him to partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

One of my favorite pastimes is playing video games with my kids. A common feature that brings us instant excitement is a power-up. A power-up is a special ability or upgrade that your character receives in the course of the game. Suddenly, you are able to do things you could not do before.

In the classic Pac-Man game, players worked their way through mazes, trying to avoid ghosts. However, each corner held a “power pellet.” Once Pac-Man ate a power pellet, he became temporarily invincible. Instead of ghosts eating him, he gobbled up the ghosts.

In another classic game, Super Mario Brothers, if Marion or Luigi touched a super mushroom, he would instantly double in size and become able to take damage without dying.

In racing games, players can access new vehicles and abilities. In sports games, players can become “on fire” and able to do things they never could do before.

In Paul’s letters, Christians received grace from Christ Jesus. For Paul, grace is Christians’ power-up. It allows them to do things they couldn’t do otherwise.

So our readings talk about spiritual gifts and how God provides strength to the end. Elsewhere in Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, he talks about God’s grace giving people the ability to be generous (see 2 Corinthians 8:1-7). In Romans 5:20-21, he says that grace gives believers power over sin and even death. It leads to eternal life.

When we learn of God’s grace and love, we become more gracious and loving. When we learn that Jesus died for our sins, we become more ready to sacrifice ourselves for others. When we see that God forgives us, we’re more ready to forgive those who wrong us. God’s grace gives power to act like Jesus in the world.

Prayerful Reflection

God, help us use the power you give to reflect your love, sacrifice, and forgiveness. Amen.

By Matthew R. Schlimm, The Upper Room Disciplines 2023, page 27.