|Posted on September 16, 2014 at 8:00 PM|
So, I'm going through the book of 1 Corinthians for the next just about two weeks and every Tuesday and Friday I will post about what I've taken from His word. I'm not a theologian, I'm not a pastor (though I am a pastor's kid) and I don't believe I know everything there is to know. I only share with the hope that whatever He reveals to me or puts on my heart can impact YOU positively.
So here we have it; Day 1 : Humility.
Coming to God begins with knowing where we stand; our status.
We are foolish and we are sinners.
I know what you're thinking: who are you calling foolish?
My answer is YOU.
Yes, you. A+ student, above 80% GPA, artistic/musical prodigy, university student, PhD; whatever standard you've met and exceeded is nothing.
1 Corinthians 1:25 NLT
This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.
OUCH. Okay, so maybe I'm not the greatest of the greatest, but I'm not a bad person.
Well do I have news for you...
There is nothing good about us, regardless of what society says about all of us being innately good. Despite the fact that you volunteer with kids, give money to the homeless, serve at shelters, tutor people, open the door for strangers or even if you always make sure to say "bless you" when someone sneezes; You Are Not Good.
Did I step on any toes? If I did, then I'm sorry but you're not alone because I had to come to this realisation as well. My toes also have bruises from being told how foolish and awful I am. And I'm what would be classified as a nerd (with a GPA leaving high school of 94%) and I now attend one of the best universities in Canada, Queen's. Also, I would be called a goody-two-shoes (maybe even a goody-four-shoes) by most of the people who grew up with because I've (apparently) always been nice. But the fact is, No one ever truly deserves that label. Most time we're just trying to get our feet to fit into those shoes - and that doesn't work.
I've said this is all to acknowledge to not build myself up but to show that I, too, have had bring myself down and that I know it's hard to hear.
But what would you rather (here's some multiple choice)?
A. To be satisfied with living a lie OR B. Be challenged by confronting the truth.
If it's A, then I'm sorry that you don't want to swallow the truth even though it goes down better than freshly made hot chocolate (or coffee, or tea; whichever is your preference).
If it's B, then congratulations because I know someone who is the Way, the Truth and the Life; His name is Jesus and He's dying to meet you.
Well, amendment, He already did die to meet you.
Oh, another amendment, He already knows you.
(I'm just going to keep adding on here):
He already knows that you're not good.
He already knows all the wrong you've done
And He already knows all the wrong that you're going to do.
Yeah, I know.
It's mind-boggling, it's scary and you feel all exposed and vulnerable and naked.
I've been there. And sometimes, I return there.
In the moment that we grasp the state of how sinful we are, we understand that we are not worthy of being loved.
But here's a fact that still rocks my world: He still loves us anyway.
Romans 5:8 New Living Translation (NLT)
8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
Let that sink in. Let it soak into your soul. Let it permeate your heart. And as your mind begins to wrap itself around that idea; you'll wonder how? Why?
How? Because He made you. He chose you. He called you. He knows who He wants you to be.
Ephesians 1:4-5 New Living Translation (NLT)
4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.
Why? Because He chooses to.
His love is not one that we observe on earth. Love here is conditional, it is based on compatibility, attractiveness etc. But God? He loves us not because of anything we can do for Him and not because of our looks or personality. We don't have to stress about being perfect and always put together because no matter what, His love will always be unconditional.
So, a lot of info has been thrown at you:
1. You are bad.
2. Someone loves you anyway and desires a relationship with you; His name is God.
So now. Here we are. We know about Him and if you're awed by His love for you then you might be thinking of entering into a relationship with Him. How do we do that?
Well, remember our badness? Our SIN? It prevents us from having a relationship with Him. Yeah, maybe I should've mentioned that before I got all your hopes up. Whoops.
... *cue awkward silence here*
But, wait. Who did God send to remedy that problem? His son: Jesus.
He lived a perfect life that no one else could lead. He then died because of sin. Wait, how does that make sense? I just said that He lived a sinless life yet He died because of sin.
He didn't die because of His sin. He died because of ours. Everyone's. All the lies, anger, hatred, idolatry, gossip, murders, rapes, sexual immorality, jealousy, envy; ALL OF IT. He took it all upon Himself and died for our sake. For humanity's sake.
And this is where many expect the story to end. Fade out to black, roll the credits, time to get up from the comfortable position you've been in and stretch.
But then, wait.
Three days later, He's back. He's risen from the dead. He has now conquered sin and death and so all who are held captive by sin can be freed.
We are free. Free to finally be in a relationship with God.
Yes, this is good news. Literally, it's called the gospel that translates to the good news.
* Sidenote: For some good may not seem like an adequate description (phenomenal, amazing, incredible - and those are true), but remember that everything without God is bad and the word good will carry A LOT more weight.*
And now that we are finally able to enter into relationship with God, how do we go about that?
Just by asking. It's not complicated.
1. Acknowledge your sin.
2. Acknowledge His goodness.
3. Acknowledge the cross.
4. State your belief in all the aforementioned.
5. Repent for your sin.
* Sidenote: This doesn't just mean strongly apologise by the way. To repent means to turn away ... From your sin, from your old life and finally begin walking in the right direction*
6. Ask Him to come into your heart and change your life.
And He will.
This doesn't have to be fancy. It just has to be true.
But remember. It all starts with the H word (No, that is not Hell): Humility.
We have to know where we started from to truly realise the gravity of where He's taken us to and where He will be taking us.
Lest we forget and suddenly begin that our salvation was of our own doing. That by our infallible ability and intelligence we have been saved.
Even typing that made me feel blasphemous.
Here are a few verses to help us keep this perspective.
1 Corinthians 1:2 NLT (emphasis mine)
I am writing to God’s church in Corinth, to you who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as He did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.
See the gorgeous bolding I did? It was for a reason.
This verse says He - not we.
He did all these things, not us (!!!) and that's something that not only keeps us humble but also enables us to clearly see His love for us. When we try to take credit for our salvation, we cheat ourselves out of the greatest grand gesture of all time that has been done for us.
So, let's not do that. Let's be humble and if we must boast:
Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.” (1 Corinthians 1:31 NLT)
There it is, so plainly laid out for us.
And hey, (bonus) when we boast about The Lord; we end up sharing the gospel.
And that means more people can come to be in this relationship with Him.