Admonish Each Other in Love [1 Corinthians 4]
14I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children.
15For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.16Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me. 17For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church.18Now some have become arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. 19But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I shall find out, not the words of those who are arrogant but their power. 20For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power. 21What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love and a spirit of gentleness?
Do you sense Paul's love for the Corinthians in this passage? He wants them to grow in their faith. He reminds them that he has the responsibility to correct them because "for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel." His desire for them is that they would stop quarreling about who baptized them or what teacher they were learning from (1Cor. 1:11-12) and that they would be unified in the gospel. He wanted their faith to be based not on man's wisdom but on God's power (1 Cor. 2:5). He longed to be able to speak to them as spiritual people instead of as babies in Christ, fleshly - full of envy and strife (1 Cor. 3:1-3). He is sending Timothy to remind them of the ways of Christ. His heart is so torn for these beloved children, he wonders how he should come to them - "with a rod, or with love and a spirit of gentleness?"
I pray that you each have someone in your life that you love enough to remind them of the truth of the gospel when they stray into envy and strife. And that you have someone who will do that for you as well.