1 Corinthians 1:26-29 “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.“
There are three basic needs that we all have:
To be loved
To be accepted
To be secure
In love, we have the desire to be someone’s one and only, an exclusive, personal, intimate, and committed relationship with someone who feels the same.
In acceptance, we desire to know that the real person we are on the inside isn’t as bad as we see and feel.
In security, we want to know that when we drop our defenses and risk love and acceptance, we will not be offended, wounded, or abused.
Every child of God has all three given at salvation.
God’s love is unconditional and everlasting.
God’s acceptance is not based on our performance for Him but on who we are to Him.
God’s security against all enemies, foreign and domestic, is a promise in which we can place all our faith.
Once these are established, we can experience God working in and through us. We discover our talents and gifts given to us by our Heavenly Father. Using them begins to bring about the usefulness and purpose of defining who we are in Christ.
As we take our place in the church, the body of Christ, we begin to realize a success not known previously. It is here that our enemy begins to plant seeds of discord, division, and destruction.
Our need for love and acceptance can become skewed if we do not correctly give the credit for the success we see.
Man has always strived for fame, fortune, and success to make a name for themselves. We define success in these terms and measure ourselves by popularity, power, position, and wealth.
This is what Paul addresses to the church at Corinth. Apparently, some did not rightly assign the praise for what was being done by God through them.
In God’s economy, we often get distracted by those with talent and influence. Paul reminds the Corinthians that God will use the foolish and unlearned to confound those thinking themselves wise.
Our enemy exploits our basic needs to the extreme.
Our need for love may cause us to look to people and things God never intended us to love.
Our desire for acceptance may cause us to be something or someone not genuine. Being fake will never satisfy as much as true acceptance.
Our want of security may bring us to the place where we are led more out of fear than having confidence in the promise and provision of our Heavenly Father.
When we are used by God, and we begin to see success, there is a point where we must acknowledge where the power, wisdom, and path came from. Paul warns us that we are not to step into the light of glory, for it is a place reserved for the One whose power, wisdom, and way were displayed through our yielding to God in our lives.
Preachers, teachers, and leaders in the church are particularly subject to the enemy’s attack in this area. When we begin to think we possess the wisdom, power, and influence that brings about successful fruit in the lives of others, we are in danger of stealing the glory due only to God.
At its core, pride begins to speak to our hearts out of the need for love, acceptance, and security. When we misplace any of these three in the success we experience, we steal from God what is rightly His.
We learn later in Corinthians:
1 Corinthians 3:6-7 “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.”
I believe it is recorded twice for emphasis and importance.
So, what is our role in service to God?
1 Corinthians 3:9 “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.”
Essentially, we are His hands here on this earth to do His good pleasure.
Philippians 2:13 “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”
We must not try so hard to change ourselves to be what God commands, but yield ourselves to die to our dreams and desires and allow God to live His life through us.
Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Steve Curington, the founder of what is known as RU Recovery, said this:
“I don’t need to be better, just deader.”
He also explains the crucified life this way:
“I don’t need to change my life, but exchange my life for His.”
As children of God, when we become acutely aware of who deserves the glory, we can begin to know what it is to truly worship and praise God.
Resist the urge to step into the limelight of glory that only God rightly deserves.
As we begin our week together, let us affix the glory and praise to the One who does all things well.