Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Observation: Paul makes it clear – true wisdom isn’t expressed through eloquent speeches or clear preaching. It’s expressed through the message of the cross. It’s a message the world doesn’t understand; they consider it foolish and weak, but in fact, it’s strong and true. Therefore, we must realize we can do nothing – for it is only through the Lord that we can boast and be saved.
Applications: After a big game, a sportscaster finds the MVP and inevitably asks the question, “How did you do it?” The best athletes, the ones we cheer for and cherish, will often take the opportunity to immediately say, “I can’t take the credit.” Instead, they point back to their team and their coaches who helped pave the way for success. Although they may have scored the most points or made the best defensive plays, they recognize it wasn’t a solo effort. If they were out on the court or the field alone, chances are they wouldn’t have made big plays at all. Their success didn’t come from them; it came from another source – their team.
The gospel message is the same. Our success doesn’t come from who we are, our own talent, wealth, or knowledge. There’s nothing inherent in us that would qualify us to boast about ourselves or our own good works. God chose us because we were unqualified in the eyes of the world.
“Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise.” (verse 26-27)
Paul’s message: Be humble. Our success doesn’t come from us. We can’t take the credit.
Let’s be honest: this humility thing is tough. Practicing true humility is a daily struggle for me. As soon as I think I reach a new level of humility, I realize there’s another level I need to break through, another layer of selfishness to strip off, another piece of pride I need to lay down. I have to continually get my eyes off of myself, my own problems and issues and realities, and get them back on to God.
He’s the source of everything. Paul tells us that his weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength. (verse 25) His weakest moments are greater than our strongest moments. We have no choice but to humble ourselves before him!
We can practice this in small ways by simply deciding not to take the credit. After a winning game, a productive night of parenting, a successful speech, let’s remember who deserves our true praise – the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the one who’s weakness is greater than our strength.
Humility comes from whose we are, not who are we.
Prayer: God, I pray for the ability to humble myself before you once again. I pray you’ll reveal new areas of my life where I need to strip off selfishness, places where I need to lay down pride. I praise you for being the source of everything good in my life, and I pray I’ll seek your power and strength as my source, not simply rely on my own. Amen.