Addicted to Kingdom Work
The King James Bible can be challenging to interpret at times, but I've often found that the wording in this translation can reach out and grab my heart in ways that others can't. Sometimes all it takes is one word that stands out to reveal a spiritual concept in a new or convicting way.
This morning, in my reading of 1 Corinthians, I came across a verse in Paul's concluding statements:
"I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,) that ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth. ~Corinthians 16:15-16
Now, there's enough material to unpack in this verse to fill multiple blog posts, but the detail that seized my attention this morning was one simple word: addicted.
The KJV was written with a limited vocabulary, and not every word carries the exact meaning now that it did then. Other translations use the word "devoted" instead, which captures the same core concept. But the word addicted in this context stirred me nonetheless—what would it look like to be addicted to Kingdom work?
I've learned that there is a trap laid for Christians by the enemy, in which we profess with our mouths all the correct spiritual doctrines, but forget them or neglect them in our own lives. We may say that Jesus is with us always, but ignore it until we need something in day to day life; we may say we live to serve Jesus, but in actuality live predominantly for ourselves, with some do-gooding thrown in here and there for conscience's sake. But someone who is addicted to the work of the Lord, to the work of the Kingdom, to the work of the believers . . . they are practicing what they profess. They are serving Christ because they need to, because they could not live without it.
This verse, and specifically the KJV wording, awakened a personal new desire for my spiritual walk. I don't want Kingdom work to be a past-time or a hobby, something I squeeze into whatever spare hours I find between pleasure and profession. I want to be so dependent upon serving Christ that I feel withdrawal when I spend too much time on myself, that I rely on Christ more than anything else to give me peace and strength, that everything I say and do can be traced back to his will, and that his signature will be on me always, detectable by everyone.
I pray that this year, if we are addicted to anything, it will only be Jesus Christ and the work of his glorious Kingdom.