Its not what I can do.
1 When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. 2 For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. 4 And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. 5 I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God. 1 CORINTHIANS 2:1-5
I like this a lot. Paul is writing here to the people of Corinth, which was a large impressive Greek city, where big words, clever communication and impressive wisdom would have been greatly valued. Those who came across well, communicated well, would have been greatly admired. And then Paul steps in and basically says that what they value is wrong, how they measure ‘cool’ is way off. He basically refuses to play their game. He bluntly tells them that his focus isn’t how cool he sounds or how clever his words are, but that his focus is completely Jesus Christ. And as if to hammer the point home, he then points out how weak and plain he is. And boldly states that he relies on the power of the Holy Spirit. He states he did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.
I have been a public speaker, a communicator for many years and will now admit that I can way too much rely on my own power and ability. I have worked hard at improving how I come across, at being more interesting and engaging. Seeing it as a job I must succeed at. And really in relying on me and my ability, I can see that this is one way of saying I don’t believe in the power of the Holy Spirit.
This passage is a powerful reminder that I need to open myself up to the Holy Spirit and not rely on my ability.
Once I was invited to speak to a theological college, to the students and staff. I spent many days carefully crafting my presentation and with it in my bag I flew to the city to speak. As I was due to speak early, I came up the day before and stayed a night in a motel. Once settled in the motel I pulled out my speech to run over it one last time, I had worship music playing and found myself drawn into the presence of God through the worship experience. And in the midst of that experience God prompted me to completely abandon the carefully prepared speech. I grabbed a piece of paper and started writing a few points of what God wanted me to share. The next day my speech was very well received, but not through anything I have done, but through the power of the Holy Spirit.
I want to be completely reliant on the Holy Spirit so that I might point not to myself, but to the power of God.
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Yahweh’s Yarn in a Year : 1 year Bible reading plan
The Portion for today is: Psalm 96-98