November 13

For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. 1 Corinthians 4:9

The word here for a ‘spectacle’ is the word for a stage in the theatre. Paul here describes his consciousness of living out his life and ministry under the scrutiny of ‘the world’, which he divides into two groups – angels and men. He was conscious that there were visible and invisible beings watching him. The visible ones watched his outward conduct – and with video cameras everywhere nowadays, never has this been truer! He was also conscious of invisible beings watching him – angels watching his conduct even in the privacy of his own bedroom. He does not here actually mention God, who watches our thoughts and sifts our hidden motives. It is not that we should be always looking over our shoulder to see who is watching. But we must fully face the challenge of being inwardly what we appear to be when we know people are watching. It is that gap between our public and private world that must be removed. Some people have interpreted this to mean that, if we are harsh and blunt in our thoughts, then we should just express them! On the contrary, if we are unloving at heart, then we must love others by obedience, asking God to change us inside to match our ideals. Christ was genuine pure love, through and through; and unless that becomes more and more the case in us, we will be ‘on stage’ for the times we are conscious of others, and ‘off stage’ in our private thoughts. Paul is communicating that there is no ‘off stage’. No-one can escape the watchful eye of God and His angels. The key is to live for God first, and realise that every word, thought and motive is in full, plain sight.