When we realize that we need to shape up, and if it’s important enough to us; we will figure out what we need to do to improve. This may be difficult, but we can do it! We can look deep inside our internal recesses, gain support from various external resources, and draw strength from God above. When we recognize that we need to shape up, we can come up with a plan, work that plan, and change—especially with the help of God. It’s difficult but doable.
Infinitely more difficult is helping someone else shape up. This is the task that the Apostle Paul faces as he writes his first letter to the Corinthian Christians. His loving heart enables him to offer help to the resistant members of the church who need to shape up.
Saint Paul’s uses holy sarcasm to break through the Corinthian Christian arrogance that keeps them from shaping up. William Barclay captures the apostle's tone in this section he translates from 1 Corinthians 4:
No doubt you have already come into your kingdom without any help from us! I would that you had already come into your kingdom so that we too might reign with you! For I think that God has exhibited the apostles, bringing up the rear of the procession, like men marked out to die! I think that we have become a spectacle for the world and for angels and for men! We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ!