Scripture: 1 Corinthians 2:1-16
Observation: Paul again emphasizes the importance of putting the message of the cross above all else, and he speaks of the value of spiritual wisdom over earthly wisdom.
Application: Remember in elementary school when you had a big test the next day? Whenever I faced a tough exam, I spent the night before leafing through worksheets and workbook pages trying to remember my spelling words or math problems, making flashcards along the way to help me remember. I woke up early the next morning and ate a “good” breakfast, which in the 1990s consisted of a brown cinnamon sugar Pop-tart (so balanced, right?!), wore my lucky scrunchie (it was the 90s, people!) and headed off to school.
Most of the time, I’d get the test from the teacher and fly through it, confident in my knowledge from studying the night before. But, I remember one time when that wasn’t quite the case. I don’t know if I was under-prepared or just particularly nervous but after being handed the test, I froze. I tried searching my brain for answers I had known only a few hours before, but I came up empty. My worldly wisdom and lucky charms (like my hideous green scrunchie) failed me.
It turns out that wouldn’t be the only time that worldly wisdom failed me. I’ve since had quite a few times in my life that my own worldly wisdom, my own intellect and talents, came up short. The truth is this: when it’s test time in our lives, our worldly wisdom often fails us – but the Spirit of the Lord will carry us.
“And when we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.” (verse 12)
There’s something so powerful about trading in the ways of this world for the ways of the Spirit, a mysterious yet peaceful force in our lives that guides us with a clarity we can never hope to possess on our own.
Paul so often speaks of the power of the Holy Spirit, reminding us that he began timid, trembling, and weak in his preaching. But he learned to rely only on the power of the Holy Spirit (verse 4) – and that carried him through.
What would our lives be like if we relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit? What would be renewed? What puzzles would be solved? What complicated situations would suddenly be clear? Ask yourself today: Which area of my life am I relying on myself – my own experiences, talents, and knowledge – rather than on God?
When the world fails us, God’s Spirit will carry us.
Prayer: God, thank you for giving us the Holy Spirit, a partner to guide us and give us clarity. I pray we’ll trade in our confidence in our own intellect and talent to instead rely fully on you. I trust you for that. Amen.