In chapter 10 Paul writes “our hope is that as your faith increases, our area of influence among you may be greatly enlarged…” Here I believe he is talking about the spread and increase of the gospel in the area surrounding Corinth, hoping that the church there can help push the gospel further. But these words got my minding going off on a tangent, something that is not uncommon for me.
Perhaps it happened because of what I was reading previously in the chapter. Given that our struggles are not against the flesh, Paul writes that we should take captive every thought so that our mind will be obedient to Christ. We must not let our minds succumb to temptation, instead we need to place our minds, and by extension, our whole selves under Christ’s control.
So with this on the mind when I came to the passage about influence increasing with faith, I jumped to the fact that as our faith increases so does our understanding of the implications of the gospel in our life. The stronger the faith the more we give over to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. If in faith we take captive our thoughts to give over to obedience to Christ, surely his influence will spread throughout us.
What maybe began as a small understanding of Jesus grows and creeps into every single area of life as Christ grows in our eyes. We cannot keep relationships from his authority, we cannot go about with a belief that our job is a separate area apart from his watch, and we must understand that even our bodies are not our own. The influence of the gospel of Jesus Christ grows as our faith grows. Not that Christ is made to be Lord, but our eyes open wider to see the truth that is there, that he is already Lord, and we make our life correspond to the reality that is in him.
So while the passage may not directly be addressing Christ’s control in a person of faith, certainly if the church of Corinth is increasing in faith, so too will Paul’s ability to influence that geographic area grow, as well, for they will be giving themselves over in obedience to the rule of Jesus Christ.