From prison to ReTrain: Russell’s story
Mon May 20, 2013
9 types of leaders in Scripture
Mon May 20, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
5 bits of wisdom for the professional Christian woman
Sun May 19, 2013
by Shandel Slaten
Sat May 18, 2013
by Hugh Whelchel
Resurgence roundup, 5/17/13
Fri May 17, 2013
Foolish, Weak, Clumsy, and Glorious
In his first letter to the Corinthians the Apostle Paul invited the early Christians to consider what their life was like before Jesus. He remembers:
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But 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. (1 Corinthians 1:26–29)
God’s Upside Down Economy
This passage is incredible. Over the course of a few sentences, Paul discredits nearly all of the sources we humans turn to for our sense of identity and worth. He says the Corinthians were:
- Not of noble birth
- Low and despised
- Things that are not
God did not choose the Corinthians because they were smart, strong, influential, rich, respected, or any of the other characteristics we long to achieve in ourselves. Jesus chose the awkward kid, not out of pity but to reveal his grace and glory and our need for him.
This may not be a good strategy for establishing a winning kickball team, but apparently God’s economy and priorities are completely opposite from our conventional way of thinking.
How Awesome Are You?
Put yourself in the Corinthians’ shoes. Think about your life before Jesus (or your life now, if you’re not a Christian). Where did you find your motivation and your worth? Were you intelligent, wealthy, beautiful, successful, popular? Compared to whom?
The Bible helps us see our pathetic state, not to rub our nose in it but to jog us out of our prideful complacency and short-sighted priorities and see the gift of Jesus.
As for me, I was living to get rich, break commandments, and win praise and approval from other people. Then I met Jesus and realized that, though I may improve my status and station relative to other humans, my life was pretty pitiful next to God’s perfection. “For the foolishness of God is wiser than men,” as Paul wrote, “and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:25).
The Gift of Jesus
Does God want us to feel bad about ourselves? Did Paul insult the Corinthians to beat them into humble submission before the great and powerful God of the universe? We are not the point. The point is God, “and because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30).
The Bible helps us see our pathetic state, not to rub our nose in it but to jog us out of our prideful complacency and short-sighted priorities and see the gift of Jesus. In verse 30, Paul lists five things we have in Jesus:
- Life/Identify – “You are in Christ Jesus”
- Wisdom – The wisdom of God
- Righteousness – Jesus’ perfection
- Sanctification – Daily lives that reflect Jesus’ grace to us
- Redemption – We are bought at a price (Jesus’ death) and free from the sinful patterns of comparison, posturing, and pride
Jesus gives us everything we need, everything we’re looking for, and everything we want to be, if we relinquish our fleeting glory and receive the gift of his immortal glory, extended to us by grace.