Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 61:1 – 3
Read through the following verses from chapters one through four in today’s reading and look for a recurring theme.
“18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.“ (1 Corinthians 1:18-31)
“1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)
“18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. 20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. 21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;” (1 Corinthians 3:18-21)
“7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? … 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. 11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; 12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: 13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.” (1 Corinthians 4:7, 10-13)
Did you notice in these chapters that God drives home the point that He does not need our natural talents, abilities, strength, wisdom, wealth, charisma, or anything else that we might possess in order to fulfill His will and accomplish His plan. If God’s work was accomplished through our human effort and ability then we would not need God, and we could claim all of the credit for ourselves. However, if anything is going to be done for the Lord it will have to be done through His working in and through us. This does not mean that we are not participants. To be sure, God uses willing servants who are yielded to Him, but He is not dependent upon our abilities, wisdom, wealth, or charisma to do what He wants to do.
If God is going to be glorified, our fleshly “attributes” are going to have to be minimized. He does not need talented orators to speak for Him. What He needs are Spirit-filled men and women who will boldly speak the truth with liberty as well as love. He needs people who are wholly yielded to Him, and are not pushing some agenda of their own or are seeking the attention that belongs only to Him.
This is very encouraging to me as a pastor in our church and a preacher of the gospel. I am well aware of my human limitations. Sometimes I wonder why God would call me into His ministry, but then I am reminded by verses like these that it has nothing to do with what I can or cannot do; the work must be done by the Lord through me. I am simply not smart enough or talented enough to do what God has called me to do. It must be done by Him through me. That way, I will have nothing to brag about and He alone will get the glory.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.