Gracious One, let your truth go before me, let your wisdom walk beside me, let your compassion live within me.
Read 1 Corinthians 1:26 – 2:5
26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”[a]
2 And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.[b] 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhere do you feel most weak and inadequate? Do you dare to admit those areas to God and ask him to use them to show his wisdom and strength to you, to your family, to your community?
The British pop group Take That echoed the Corinthian attitude as they sang, ‘We’ve come so far and we’ve reached so high’. But Paul’s caution here echoes their refrain, ‘Never forget where you’re coming from’. Paul wants the Corinthians to remember that there was nothing innately great about them – they owed everything to God’s wisdom and strength. Can you think of other times Paul gave this message? (2 Corinthians 4:7, 2 Corinthians 12:9 or Philippians 4:13.)
The phrase ‘Christ crucified’ (1:23) would have seemed strange to the early church. ‘Christ’ had connotations of power, greatness, and victory. That did not match ‘crucified’ with its associations with criminality, shame, and disgrace. But that unlikely combination was Paul’s message to them (2:2).
Although Paul is warning the Corinthians about pride in their achievements, these verses are also an encouragement when we feel inadequate or unworthy – it is not about us, it is about God and he chooses the weak and foolish to show his power and to shame the proud.
… Because of what the Lord has done for us.’*
Lord, I don’t want a designer Jesus who meets my preferences and interests. I want to know the real, living Christ healing and leading me.
*Henry Smith, 1978
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