1 Corinthians 1:26 Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 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; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, 29 so that no one might boast in the presence of God. 30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
We know that many of the early Christians came from the margins of society – outcasts, the physically impaired, slaves, people living in poverty, and so on. If you have so little to lose, why not give the church a try? After all, church people held their material possessions in common (at least in some cases) so it could be a pretty good deal for someone with nothing. Here Paul is writing to those who came from the wrong side of the tracks. I’m particularly struck by v.30-31:
“(God) is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
First there’s the list of what Christ has become for us believers: wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Wow. That’s quite a list, don’t you think? To comment on all four of these would take too long so I’ll just say a few words about the first item on the list… wisdom.
The teachings of Jesus, explaining how things work with God, fly in the face of everything considered wise in secular culture. In the Kingdom of God one must die in order to live? The first are last and the last are first? Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you? To be great in the Kingdom is to be servant of all? Are ya kidding me?! Nope. Not kidding. Interestingly it was the unsophisticated who were able to receive Jesus’ teaching while the educated scoffed. Poor Christians had little formal training or education or worldly sense – but they had Jesus. And if they had Jesus they had wisdom.
We’re in the midst of Holy Week in the church year. It’s the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. A group of us from our church are fasting for the week. I don’t mean we’re not eating or drinking anything, but we’re eating and drinking considerably less than usual. And while we’re fasting, we’re asking for the Lord to give us greater clarity on a particular question or issue.
I’m personally asking the Lord to reveal the places in my life where I’ve been leaning on the wisdom of the world rather than the wisdom of God. You might think a pastor has this down by now, but you’d be wrong. I’m continually faced with the temptation to do what seems right in my own eyes rather than God’s eyes. And while it’s true that God’s ways are not always obvious, sometimes they are. And so I’m spending this week in a posture of humility and repentance. I know I’m off track in parts of my life and I need the power of Jesus to bring me back.
Lord Jesus, let it be so. Amen.