“…not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.”
(1 Corinthians 1:17)
Most Christians agree that our wisdom is not worldly. Most of us realize that the message of the cross is “foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1:18). We see in many ways that the wisdom of the world is in the power of self. We yearn for people to see the power of God and begin to trust Him instead. We think, “If only you would turn your heart and eyes upon Jesus….” At one time, Jesus Christ Himself became our wisdom. We had to let go of our own wisdom first, to shift the placement of our trust completely. Only by the drawing power of the Holy Spirit can we do that! We left our own wisdom behind and found Christ to be “the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1:24).
But now the temptation is to participate in God’s mission on the basis of human wisdom. When it comes to being useful in God’s kingdom, where do you place your trust? After we are born again, the question of trust still continues to confront us. And the options still boil down to God’s power versus our own power. If I trust in my own power to convince, or the ability of others to reason their way to salvation, then I begin employing every tactic of rhetoric, choosing only the most palatable words, and seeking to meet a thousand felt needs. Even worse, I minimize or gloss over potentially unpleasant things God said, while over-emphasizing the appealing promises and benefits of following Christ. This is dishonest at best. Jesus was always upfront: “whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).
May I remind you today, brother and sister, that the power of God embodied in Jesus Christ is the dependable anchor for our trust? For salvation, for becoming like Him, for partaking in the work of His kingdom, He is all we need! He is able to do what no one and nothing else can. An interesting picture emerges when we look at the activity of God in 1 Corinthians 1. Willfully, “God made foolish the wisdom of this world” (1:20). He did not allow us to come to know Him “through wisdom,” meaning our own cleverness. He made human ingenuity a dead-end street, choosing to bring us to Himself through a message that the intellect cannot believe without the Holy Spirit’s help (1:21). The end result is that “no flesh should glory in His presence” (1:29).
If we know this to be true, it should affect our behavior. Our desire to be His witnesses and win souls is good, but our method must be right. Trust the wisdom of what seems foolish. Believe in the power of His Word, not our special delivery or presentation. We must guard our hearts against hoping that others will see what a loving Christian we are. They need to see Him. That comes through our humble obedience, as we give ourselves to God so He can use us for others.
The Rock Church