|Posted on April 10, 2014 at 10:20 PM|
This Friday, the passage of scripture that we've been given to write on is 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.
2 When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters,[a] I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan.[b] 2 For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. 4 And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. 5 I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God. (NLT)
There's one word that comes to mind each time I've read these 5 verses in different versions:
Paul didn't try to be impressive or sound clever, instead he showed his weakness and he was plain. He was humble about spreading the gospel. He decided to shift the focus from him to Christ.
I love the way that the Message Version and the Contemporary English Version put it in verse 2:
In fact, while I was with you, I made up my mind to speak only about Jesus Christ, who had been nailed to a cross. (CEV)
I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did—Jesus crucified.
Paul's humility wasn't natural, it wasn't instinct - it was a choice. Because instinct says:
I want to look smart.
I want to be important.
I want others to look up to me.
Instinct is all about I, it is filled to the brim with Pride.
Paul gave us an example of how we should treat sharing the gospel with others; that we should forget everything but Jesus and His sacrifice on the Cross.
Because the gospel is not about us. Our salvation had nothing to do with us and everything to do with God.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. (Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT)
The moment that we begin to boast in ourselves or put our faith in the boasting of our fellow man, we have a problem.
Isaiah 10:15 NLT puts it like this ...
But can the ax boast greater power than the person who uses it? Is the saw greater than the person who saws? Can a rod strike unless a hand moves it? Can a wooden cane walk by itself?
It makes me want to ask my own rhetorical question:
Can a Christian boast in anyone other than Christ?
But the thing is, it's easy enough to do. It's easy to be proud, it's instinct to try to present yourself in the best light possible. That's the sinful nature that we were born into.
12 When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. (Romans 5:12 NLT)
That's the sinful nature that we struggle with.
18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. (Romans 7:18-19 NLT)
That's the sinful nature that we have been freed from in Christ.
12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters,[a] you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. (Romans 8:12 NLT)
And that's the sinful nature that we have to kill every time it appears.
13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, [b] you will live.
And even that, we cannot do on our own! It is with His power; His spirit in us that we can ever hope to kill that part of us that rebels against God. Becoming a Christian and living as one cannot be done by our power - and I am so grateful for that.
Because we make mistakes and would always manage to mess up our salvation.
But Jesus? His perfection is such that our imperfections are covered. Wiped away. Each time.
That's why we can't lift up ourselves. We are not worthy enough, holy enough, special enough, or good enough.
And it is when we live showing how truly "not enough" we are, we show how He is more than enough.
As John 3:30 (NLT) says:
He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.
So, like Paul, let's make up our minds to do this. Let's deliberately choose to humble ourselves and elevate Him; "To know nothing among [others] except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Categories: Roars in response to Scripture