Last week I began a slow journey through Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. They were a fleshly group of people who melded their faith in Christ with many values from the culture – wisdom being one of them. Take a moment to read Paul’s words.
“And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away;” (1 Cor. 2:1-6)
Consider these questions:
How do you evaluate a speaker or one who ministers in the name of Jesus?
How does Paul suggest we should evaluate them?
In your ministry, what do you rely on?
Take a moment to offer your thoughts and reflections to the Lord.
The twelve were with Jesus. They saw how He did ministry and how He treated people. His tenderness, gentleness, and compassion for the poor and oppressed were evident. They saw His heart for the lost sheep and the masses without shepherds. He rebuked hypocrites and false leaders. They were with Him when He healed, raised the dead, and cast out demons. They learned sacrifice, suffering, obedience, and servanthood. They went through faith tests of being in a storm on the sea about to down and then saw Jesus still the storm.
Jesus didn’t focus on how-tos (programs, methods, or skills) but rather on heart, character, values, motives, faith, and leading in light of eternity among other things. We would do well to emphasize the same in our equipping. Then He commissioned them. There was an end to His training.
“But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” (Isa. 66:2)
God is not impressed by good looks, wealth, intelligence, education, strength, or any other trait or accomplishment we humans esteem. We strive for these things. We look to one another by comparison to see if we look better, are in better condition, have accomplished more, have more wealth, bigger houses and so on. We look at the outward appearances and accomplishments.
But God looks at the heart and He knows. He knows what is in our hearts. He knows our motives, our character and what is important to us. He knows.
This verse gives me a priority on something different than the world around me. The goal or priority of humility before God and respectfully ingesting and obeying His Word.
No matter what my circumstances, accomplishments, or talents, I do have the choice. This verse shows me what is important to God – humility, contriteness and trembling at His Word.