According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
– 1 Corinthians 3:10-17
Of course, there are many false teachers in this world who try to build on the foundation of Jesus that people have in their hearts, and they build up lies (purposefully or unwittingly) on top of others’ faith which causes them to swerve from the truth. But the inverse is also a legitimate problem about which Paul is writing. Let no one find themselves tearing down God’s temple, because denying true doctrine is just as serious as affirming false doctrine.
I have a fairly skeptical nature, and therefore usually find myself on the subtractive side of an argument of theology. I think it’s safer to take something with questionable teaching away than it is to teach something unclear that may build an idol in one’s heart instead of God’s temple. But according to Paul, they’re both dangerous. I don’t want to be found tearing down God’s temple because I think it’s an idol either. Paul says God judges that as harshly as he judges the teaching of false doctrine.
Lord, I’ve once again come to the conclusion that I need your Spirit to lead me. I can’t trust my own bent to skepticism to keep me in the right. I must trust your Spirit. When a song has an awkward word in it, or a sermon’s use of Scripture seems unsafe to me, help me investigate further and hear from your perfect Spirit before I judge in my heart for my imperfect self.
This post is part of my Weekly REAP series. I’m posting these from my personal journal to share what God is teaching me, and to give some practical examples of the REAP method. I didn’t write any of these with publishing in mind, so forgive me if they don’t always wax eloquent. Here is some more information on the REAP study method.