First Corinthians 4 sends us a powerful message not only about judgement but how we make choices as individuals. For many (or at least some of us) I am sure it is difficult to picture ourselves making and discerning choices before us as confidently as Paul. So much so that he mentions, “my conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent.” With this Paul is saying that when he makes choices he understands the consequences and stands by the decisions he has with what seems like an iron will of a heart. Yet he is still humble enough to recognize that he indeed makes and has made mistakes, as well as he is not letting his confidence in his wisdom be an excuse to not accepting consequences.
For me, this confidence and hearing someone who can be so resolute makes me speechless. But if we delve deeper into why he acts this way, then it indeed should not be taken lightly. That reason why Paul can be so confident is because of God. As Paul reciprocates in verse six, it is up to us to understand the meaning of the phrase, “don’t go beyond what is written,” meaning that if we read and put into practice the guidance God has laid out for us in the Bible, then we should have a better grasp of what choices to make. We live our lives for God according to His standard, and as we study the Bible we will come to know that standard better.
Paul has another powerful message that can answer this question we may have; why doesn’t Paul get so tied up with past decisions He has made or worry so much about ones in the future? It is because God is the Supreme Judge and He will judge us all when He comes. It is important to self-reflect and feel remorse for poor choices we have made, but we must remember to not let it weigh so heavy on hearts. The decision was made, God graciously gives us the opportunity to repent through His sacrifice, and ultimately, He will be the one to judge and sentence us in His time. Remember that God is greater than our hearts (I John 3:21), and that should bring us confidence because with Him and in keeping his commandments we have nothing to truly fear but our fear itself. In our love and actions of charitable deeds, He lives in us by His Spirit.
When facing fear, the words courage and hero may come to mind. A hero is someone who by all means will do what is needed for another--usually, because someone is going through a scary ordeal. With that in mind, a hero is someone who not only saves a person but also their heart. God is our hero; He has taken our fear and saves not just us but our hearts. When we are scared, we must remember to smile because people in this world who smile are strong. And with God in us, we always have a reason to smile.