23 August 2011

Not Many Mighty

1 Corinthians 1:26-29 is a great passage to read when you’re having a Galatians 6:3 moment (and we all go there from time to time). 

Verse 26 says that not many wise, not many might, not many noble are called.  The wording does allow for the reading that there are a few wise…mighty…noble who are called.  But just in case you think that’s you, verses 27-28 basically imply that you’ll never amount to much for the Lord.  Because God chooses the foolish to confound the wise; the weak to confound the mighty; and that which is base and despised to bring to nought the things that are.

But why?  For this reason (verse 29), “That no flesh should glory in his presence.”

That sounds awfully similar to one of the main reasons that a man’s good works can’t save his soul – because God doesn’t want anybody in heaven bragging about what they did to get there.  (See Ephesians 2:8-9 and Romans 3:27.)

And it’s the same reason that the Lord is not likely to use someone who thinks they have something great to offer Him.  He doesn’t want us to “glory in his presence.”

Colossians 2:6 says, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.”  How did you receive Jesus Christ?  In humility.  Knowing you could do nothing to save yourself.  How did you receive Jesus Christ?  By faith.  Trusting what He had done not what you could do. 

The Lord wants us to take that same attitude into Christian service.  He wants us to own our complete dependence upon Him.  He wants us to recognize that without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).  That we are insufficient of ourselves; that our sufficiency is of God (2 Corinthians 3:5).  That it’s not by might or by power but by the spirit of God (Zechariah 4:6).  That it takes God working in us and working through to accomplish anything that will matter (Philippians 2:13; Hebrews 13:20-21). 

The Lord wants us to walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7).  Believing His word; obeying His word; seeking His will (Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:6).  Depending not on our strength or ability but on the power of the indwelling Christ (Philippians 4:13; Ephesians 3:16-20).

The Lord will reward us for that kind of service (1 Corinthians 3:14; Colossians 3:23-24; et al), but we’ll cast those crowns right back at Jesus’ feet because all the honor, all the glory, all the power, all the praise – it rightly belongs to Him (Revelation 4:10-11).