A very wise previous Minister of ours once gave me some excellent advice. When I said how nervous I was about preaching, his reply was, “If you weren’t nervous, you should go home, because it isn’t important enough to you”. We live in a world obsessed with training, being equipped for every possible eventuality. This is not necessarily a bad thing – much damage is done sometimes by those who think they know what they are doing. But there also needs to be space in life for vulnerability and weakness, and for God to get a look in where things aren’t over-engineered so he has no room to move.
1 Corinthians 2:1-16 (CEV)
Telling about Christ and the Cross
2 Friends, when I came and told you the mystery that God had shared with us, I didn’t use big words or try to sound wise. 2 In fact, while I was with you, I made up my mind to speak only about Jesus Christ, who had been nailed to a cross.
3 At first, I was weak and trembling with fear. 4 When I talked with you or preached, I didn’t try to prove anything by sounding wise. I simply let God’s Spirit show his power. 5 That way you would have faith because of God’s power and not because of human wisdom.
6 We do use wisdom when speaking to people who are mature in their faith. But it isn’t the wisdom of this world or of its rulers, who will soon disappear. 7 We speak of God’s hidden and mysterious wisdom that God decided to use for our glory long before the world began. 8 The rulers of this world didn’t know anything about this wisdom. If they had known about it, they would not have nailed the glorious Lord to a cross. 9 But it is just as the Scriptures say,
“What God has planned
for people who love him
is more than eyes have seen
or ears have heard.
It has never even
entered our minds!”
10 God’s Spirit has shown you everything. His Spirit finds out everything, even what is deep in the mind of God. 11 You are the only one who knows what is in your own mind, and God’s Spirit is the only one who knows what is in God’s mind. 12 But God has given us his Spirit. That’s why we don’t think the same way that the people of this world think. That’s also why we can recognize the blessings that God has given us.
13 Every word we speak was taught to us by God’s Spirit, not by human wisdom. And this same Spirit helps us teach spiritual things to spiritual people. 14 That’s why only someone who has God’s Spirit can understand spiritual blessings. Anyone who doesn’t have God’s Spirit thinks these blessings are foolish. 15 People who are guided by the Spirit can make all kinds of judgments, but they cannot be judged by others. 16 The Scriptures ask,
“Has anyone ever known
the thoughts of the Lord
or given him advice?”
But we understand what Christ is thinking.
Weak and trembling, Paul delivers his message. He recognises that he has no skilful words or wisdom to offer; he only has God’s Spirit. Any wisdom, and power, any strength, comes only from and through God.
True power comes from our weakness and our leaving plenty of room for God to do his thing. Ultimately it is not about what we can do, but about what we allow God to do in and through us. It is not about us having the “right” words or responses, but allowing space in our lives for God to, not being so full of our own clever answers that there is no room for God to speak what he knows is needed. I think that is an important thing for each of us to remember, wherever we are and whatever we are doing. I have nothing to say, God has everything. My words should not be my carefully crafted and elaborate ones, but the ones God gives to me. Whatever I do, I do only by the power of God’s Spirit.
Forgive me Lord,
for the times when I think
I can do
a brilliant job,
that I have beautiful words,
and stand in my strength.
May I remember always
to stand in your power,
to being your words,
to show your love.
Weak and trembling may I stand,
for you are my all