Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 14, 2019
My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 (NRSV)
“If God were to get up and walk out of the building, would any of us notice?” This was a question posed by a pastor in a sermon that I heard years ago, and it has haunted me ever since. While there is much to be said about organizational efficiency and productivity, they were commenting on the fact that as our church communities grow in size and complexity, they require an ever-increasing degree of care-taking and creativity. Is it possible that we become so compelling and winsome in our presentation that we miss the power of God in the process?
St. Paul was writing to a church in Corinth that was accustomed to well-rehearsed, perfectly executed presentations. They had no time for amateur hour, no patience for anything less than the best. Yet Paul refused to play into this expectation or try to win them over with anything less than the power of God at work through the life-giving Spirit. In fact, the more he embraced his weaknesses and limitations, the more the power of God was able to shine forth in clear and compelling ways. Are you and I able to do the same?
As the rest of his letter makes clear, St. Paul not only knew about the power of the living God, but that power had transformed him in the core of his being. When God infuses his life into yours, you become a living, embodied “demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Corinthians 2:4). Do you believe that your life could be so transformed by the love of God that someone could come to encounter the living God simply by being in your presence?
More than your ability to think clearly about the Bible or theology, more than your gifts and skills in speaking faithfully about God, people are first and foremost drawn to the lived experience of the Holy Spirit that they encounter in you. There is certainly a place for thinking clearly and speaking faithfully, but if this is separated from a life aflame with the fire of God, it will leave you empty and hollow.
Whatever else may be true of our church communities, may they always first and foremost be known as places where the power of God can be encountered in the life and witness of their people. The world is desperate to know the transforming power of God – let us never settle for anything less!
Father, so infuse and transform our lives that we share in your life and share that life with the world around us. Amen.
Where have you relied on your skills, gifts, and strategy instead of upon the power of God?
God’s power, not my persuasion, brings the long term transformation of another life in Christ. #wisdomhunters #God’spower
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