After worshiping and praying together, we were given time to spend alone with God, asking Him to lead us to a verse for the new year. I’ve been reading a compilation of articles on Discipling.
One of the authors pointed to the apostle Paul, and how he was transparent about not having it all together. “When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom.” (I Corinthians 2:1)
I’ve read those words plenty of times, but, oh, how they resonate right now! In English, I know I am able to speak well, even eloquently on occasion! But, in Spanish, it’s an entirely different story! I’m getting better and better, but still feel like I sound like a Dick and Jane book most days. (Hopefully some of you remember them! “See Jane run. Run, Jane, run.”)
One of my Spiritual Gifts is teaching, and so I believe I am being obedient by working hard to learn more Spanish so that I can do a better job of sharing. I really love finding ways to connect God’s Word in simple, practical ways. I find great satisfaction in painting ‘mental pictures’ for others to help them see a deeper truth.But, I get all turned around when I am more interested in using just the ‘right’ word, or coming up with the ‘perfect’ example than in depending on the Holy Spirit to move through me. That makes this endeavor about my strengths and abilities, and that is a risky, risky place to go!
Paul says he preached not with wise and persuasive words but with a demonstration of the Holy Spirit’s power (I Corinthians 2:4). What would that exactly look like? I’m not sure. Signs and wonders? Miracles?Immediately I want to say – No, that’s just too crazy! But, is it? The fact of the matter is, the only thing that can transform brokenness, sin, death, into life, - abundant life!, is Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. Perhaps the reason I’ve felt led to read about Spiritual warfare is that the Holy Spirit is inviting me to be a vessel of His power. Wow, that’s a bit scary!
Paul says he resolved to know nothing. This is hard for me. I like knowing stuff. If I’m honest, I like that others know that I know stuff, too! I have been blessed with a lot of opportunity to learn a lot about the Bible. In and of itself, that’s not a bad thing, I know.But, I think about how much Paul knew. After all, he was a very well-educated Pharisee able to quote scripture and debate the Torah with anyone. And yet, he resolved to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Why? So that those he preached to would put their faith not in humans, but in God, and His power.
My prayer for 2012 is that I will learn to embrace my lack of human wisdom and eloquence. That I will have the courage to confess my weakness, fear and trembling (verse 3), first to Jesus, and then to the women of El Callejon. That I won’t try to be wiser and more persuasive, but instead cry out to the Holy Spirit, for His power to be demonstrated.I pray that every day I will leave any so-called knowledge I have, and instead step into El Callejon remembering what I resolved this week, sitting in the Chapel, on the SI Base, here in the Dominican Republic:
“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
(I Corinthians 2:2)