Today’s Text: 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
1 And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you God’s mystery. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
Friends, have you ever been scared to serve as a witness and share Christ with others?
When I was in college, I belonged to a few different campus ministry groups. One was quite vocal about asking us to share His message with others. In the four years I was involved, I never once shared my faith with someone I wasn’t already sure believed. At the time, I told myself it was because I didn’t trust myself to do it “right”. I was always nervous when someone would ask me questions. What if I said the wrong thing? What if I didn’t know the right verses? What if they didn’t understand what I was trying to say? What if I couldn’t explain it right? Would they see my weak and fresh faith? If I didn’t share, would that make me less of a believer? What if I looked like a fool? After all, I wasn’t a theologian or scholar of the faith. I didn’t know my bible as well as others did. I felt lost, and I didn’t feel like I had the tools to be as effective as He needed me to be.
It’s funny that I would feel ill-equipped because I am a (generally) confident and educated woman who uses logic and reason to structure my life. I study topics in depth. I like to make lists, and I like to prepare for every possible outcome. I have a strong work ethic, and I trust every person I meet because I want to believe the best in everyone. (My mother tells me that last part is naive.) In groups of people, I struggle with insecurities related to my education, my preparedness, and my experiences. One on one, I flourish. I develop deep relationships and find security in them.
When I first opened my heart to Christ, I spent a lot of time reading and studying all of the divine moments and miracles in the bible. I felt so much awe when I really let the story of Lazarus sink in. What did that mean for me? for the world? When I mapped out the events of the crucifixion, I was amazed at all of the things that happened simultaneously with His last breath. Those moments held a power that I couldn’t explain. They were beautiful and strong and meaningful moments that shaped my worldview–but I couldn’t relate to those moments of divinity in a way that I felt equipped to share with others.
Today, the things I find most beautiful in the bible are those moments where you see the simple and the human. Those are the moments that I most relate to. Those are the moments I so much want to share with others who think it’s hard or complicated to fall in love with Christ. Those are the moments I cling to because those are the moments that give me confidence.
Paul’s letters are filled with those moments. Paul was not an eloquent speaker, but he was filled with a fire for Christ that made him a powerful messenger of the Truth.
Paul was didn’t rely on his education to share his message. His words were simple and clear. He shared what he knew and opened his heart to the Holy Spirit who would reveal the message of God. Paul’s teachings were simple and concise. He wasn’t worried about connecting every bit of evidence to prove his point. He focused his message Jesus and His crucifixion.
Paul lifted his humanity and his weaknesses up for the world to see. He humbled himself so to make his message easier for those listening to hear. Paul didn’t use fancy words to win the hearts of those who heard him preach. He didn’t construct seductive arguments in support of Christ. He relied on the strength of God to give a simple and honest message that the crowds would understand and relate to.
Paul knew how easy it was for us to rely on our own knowledge, and he understood that true faith cannot live in our minds with our education. The power of God dwells in our hearts, and we must learn to trust in that power over all else. Our words will fail us, but our hearts never will.
Friends, we need only to look to Paul for advice when we’re scared or feel ill-equipped. We don’t need to know all of the right words–God will give them to us when we need them. We don’t need to be scholars with years of training–God’s power surpasses human understanding. We don’t need to know each line and verse–a life and message focused on Jesus and His love demonstrated through His death is only one that matters.
As we approach Holy Week, friends, lets make sure we’re spending time with Christ. Let’s reflect on the love He showed all of us in this last week of His human life. Let’s focus less on the intricate details of our message and simplify it my focusing more on its core–Jesus. Let’s spend time learning to trust our hearts and His power as we share His message with those around us through our words and our actions.
This post was written as an exercise for #SheReadsTruth, an online community of women spending time together each day in the Word. During the season of Lent, the community is being challenged to spend time researching and reflecting on specific text that will culminate weekly with a devotional shared with the entire community to supplement the Lenten devotionals prepared by the #SheReadsTruth team. Come join us!