The foolishness of Christ

This morning, I had a rare opportunity to sneak out of the house before the sun rose up and before my children stirred out of their beds. With God’s Word and my journal, I found myself sitting with Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians, chapter 2:

“When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message, and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom but on God’s power. We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” – but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” 

I’ve been sitting with this passage and this idea that the ways of God may seem foolish to those who don’t know Him. Sometimes, I think the temptation is to do everything we can to make sense of our lives and to have ‘wise plans’ that make sense to the world around us, make sense to even ourselves in our most quiet, honest moments… but I’m reminded by Paul’s words that in his going to God’s people, even in weakness, fear and trembling, others were able to see the demonstration of God’s power instead of the power of men and women. Paul’s only focus was on God glorified through Christ crucified. Christ crucified was his only strength. It wasn’t his success, wisdom,  eloquence or  amazing abilities.

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As I’ve been really laying out our future plans and my deepest desires before God and discussing them with my husband, I have to quiet voices that would call our plans to go back overseas completely foolish. I have to quiet my own voice that says the same thing.  It makes no sense to the world. I have cancer. Our children are little. That part of the world is in the middle of a major upheaval. It’s not necessarily safe or predictable. There are many, many days where I just want to have plans that make more sense. I wrestle with the limits of my own strength in contrast with God’s desire and commitment to take care of His people.  God is sovereign over the chaos of our hearts and the brokenness of our communities. His promise is to restore and redeem all things for His glory. I’m just a little blip in this massive story of God’s compelling love. How amazing that I get to be even a blip in it?

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Cancer puts me at the crossroads. Do I trust the “foolishness” of God’s wisdom and purposes and “take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me“? Or do I allow the unknown of Cancer draw me back into what seems more safe and reasonable?

 “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus…”

For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be, like his glorious body.”      –Philippians 3:12-14, 17-21

 

What if we all started living a little more foolishly??? What foolishness is God calling you to? Where have you stifled God’s wisdom for the wisdom of men and women? When you speak and listen to others pursuing a ‘foolish’ endeavor, do you allow God’s wisdom to speak through you or do you add to the voices that rely on our own human understanding?

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