Christ: The Wisdom and Power of God

As I read 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 last week, a number of things crossed my mind. First, “…the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God,” is a good reminder that the idea of God sending His Son to die for our sins seems foolish to those who have no relationship with Christ. But to those of us who believe, we recognize the importance of this decision and its life-giving impact on our souls.

To unbelievers it seems simply unbelievable that God would love the world so much that He would give up something as precious as His one and only Son for us. It’s unbelievable to them, because they cannot imagine doing it themselves, and struggle to understand when they see others actually love in a similar manner. In fact, sacrifice, forgiveness and reconciliation are often such foreign concepts to the unbeliever, that when it occurs they simply can’t accept it; they think there must be some ulterior motive behind the act.

Secondly, “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God,” (vs 27-29). We see this as evidenced in Jesus; a Savior, born into the world as a lowly babe in a stable. He didn’t come from a wealthy or influential family, but He was the power and wisdom of God personified.

I also can’t help but think of others considered insignificant, meek, or simple…ordinary people like you and I, that God uses to exemplify His glory. For example, remember when God chose Gideon to save Israel, and the angel spoke to him, “the Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor” (Judges 6:11, ESV)? And after having been told that God would help him lead Israel from the hand of their enemy, how did Gideon reply? He said, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house,” (Judges 6:15, ESV, emphasis added). If you want to know how this story ends you should read Judges 6-8; but I can tell you, God uses Gideon.

Again, God uses the weak and foolish things of this world to shame the wise and strong. And He continues to do so today! So often we respond to the callings God places on our lives in a similar manner: who am I? I’m just a _____. BUT GOD is telling us it’s not on us, it’s through HIM.

I always say, “It’s not about perfection, it’s about obedience.” This stems from my personal experiences with perfectionism, which, in the past, have kept me from walking in obedience. I believed the lie, that if I couldn’t do something perfectly, I shouldn’t do it at all. However, God isn’t calling us to be perfect, He just wants us to act in obedience and allow Him to shape and perfect that which is beyond our ability.

Lastly, I note that God chooses to use the foolish, weak, low and despised for a reason. Because if He chose the wise, the strong, powerful, and well-loved they would be tempted to boast in, and of themselves; and God wants us to recognize His power and authority. Now, I do believe that people of power and influence can be used by God if they walk humbly before Him (Proverbs 18:12, 22:4, 27:2; James 4:6, 10; Luke 14:11; Romans 12:3; Philippians 2:3-4). Unfortunately, it’s more common for those of power and influence to downplay the role of God in their lives, because they’re afraid to lose the very power and influence God gave them. But they were given for a purpose, and when we don’t use the gifts God gives, we run the risk of losing them.

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Hypocrisy

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, but of all the things flying around in there, the term “hypocrisy” has been popping up more and more. And I thought to myself, “Most people don’t really know the definition of this word, although, they like to throw it around quite a bit.”

I’ve been slapped in the face with it a lot recently; I think it’s because of all the recent political discussion, and because the devil’s really been accusing me the last couple days (if not years…smh). Funny thing is, what he says…is all a lie.

What hypocrisy is, is when someone living a sinful lifestyle tries to tell others to turn away from their sinful lifestyle…A “do as I say, not as I do” approach. That’s why Jesus told people…”Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that [is] in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that [is] in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye (Luke 6:42).

What hypocrisy is not, is when someone has made their mistakes (because no one is perfect and we all fall short, Romans 3:23), turns away from their sinful lifestyle, and then encourages others to do the same. Therefore, just because we’ve made mistakes in our pasts—perhaps we still struggle with such things—that doesn’t make us hypocrites. It’s only our refusal to acknowledge our mistakes, repent, and turn away from them that creates hypocrisy.

“But it’s so hard!” You’re probably thinking. You’re right, it is hard; that’s why we were never meant to do it on our own. That’s why when we turn from our sinful lifestyle we must turn toward something else…Christ (Hebrews 12:1-2).

King David is one of my most favorite men of the Bible. Why? Because David, fell…HARD. But what did he do? He repented, turned away from his sin, and turned towards God. However, even King David, a man after God’s own heart, couldn’t confront his son Amnon, before/when he fell because David was ashamed of his own past (2 Samuel 13).

I don’t want to be that person. Yes, I’ve made poor choices, and not a day goes by that I don’t regret those choices;  but I don’t want to believe the lie that I’m a hypocrite just because I want to discourage others from making the same mistakes. I don’t want my own fear and shame to keep me from sharing the wisdom I’ve gained over the years.

I REFUSE to let my own fear and shame keep me from sharing with others (and neither should you!). So, call me a hypocrite if you want, but I know the truth. God uses my mistakes and failures for His glory and purpose.

To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory. (Isaiah 61:3)