In the beginning chapters of First Corinthians we find Paul elaborating to the church in Corinth about how God uses the foolish things to shame the wise so that it will not be man’s power or wisdom that receives credit, but God alone. Because how, except with God, could something foolish create something spectacular?
I have been mulling and reading over these passages a lot lately, trying to understand how this concept should play out in our lives. To say God is unconventional is certainly an understatement. As I’ve pointed out before, he seems to like contradictions—that is, ways of thinking that oppose normal human logic. When it comes to boxes, there are none with Him.
When I think of Paul’s exposition in the beginning of this book of the Bible, the word excuses comes to mind. Track with me here. How many times in your life have you used an excuse to relieve yourself of the obligation or responsibility to do something? Too many to count, I assume. Same here. There seems to be an endless number of reasons to shy away from doing new things, taking risks, helping this person, taking this job, going on this trip, etcetera. It’s not difficult to find these reasons. What’s difficult is to ignore them.
There is also a difference between human truth and God’s truth. Human logic is linked with human truth. Here are some human truths that you may find running through your mind when trying to make decisions:
You’re not qualified for this.
You’re not strong enough to take on this challenge.
You don’t have the right training.
You’re too young—you need more experience first.
You’re too old—you’ve missed your opportune moment.
You’re not beautiful enough.
You’re not talented enough.
You don’t have the right personality.
You’re too sick, and you don’t have the energy.
You don’t have enough money.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea now. Looking at these statements a certain way, they actually could be true. But like I said, doesn’t God work outside of boxes, not inside? That alone should give you hope.
I have found that pretty much every time I endeavor to take a risk (which is anything that is challenging for me, personally, to press through) at least one of these excuses will light up in my brain like a warning. Beep! Beep! Beep! Wait a second, who do you think you are to do something like this? You haven’t gone to college. You’re still in your twenties. You’re not outgoing. You don’t know anything about this. You have too much to still learn. So wait. Or better yet, don’t do it. You’ll just fail.
Sometimes I just want to curse at those lies.
Excuses so often take such prevalent places in our lives, but they are so debilitating. And then I am reminded, God uses the foolish and the weak things to shame the wise. Huh. What does that mean for me, then? When I am weak, then I am strong, Paul said. What does that look like?
What that means is that God’s power in me, through me, trumps all those excuses. Because he doesn’t choose or call us because we’re qualified. He actually has this crazy tendency to choose the most unqualified people to do the most mind-blowing things. With this kind of belief, what remains to hold us back?
Hmm. That’s funny. I can’t think of a single thing.
See, friends, all it takes is a choice to take the step instead of dwell on all the reasons why you shouldn’t. That’s not living! God’s truth is that you lack nothing. People won’t understand this. People might try to shut you up or tear you down if you try something beyond your skill or experience level. But the wisdom of men is foolishness to God.
Who are we going to believe?
I Corinthians 1:26-29, NIV
“Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”