Read This Week: 1 Corinthians 1
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God. Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. – 1 Corinthians 1:18, 20-21, 25 NIV
We live in a world of incredible access to knowledge and information. If we want to know what the capital of North Dakota is, we can immediately find the answer. If we want to know where Kanye West is from or the back story of our favorite athlete, it is simply a click away. However, this unprecedented access hasn’t made us wiser. It has given us a false sense of understanding that has led to arrogance and the proud belief that we’re all knowledgeable experts on a variety of topics.
The Apostle Paul addresses this same issue and mindset among the people and church of Corinth in the book of 1st Corinthians. The church there was falling apart because of sin, division, and people trading God’s wisdom for faulty human knowledge. As in modern society, when you have a bunch of proud people depending solely on their reason and intellect, there are going to be problems in every walk of life.
In the first chapter, Paul gets right to the heart of the issue. He makes it clear that their disregard for God is the reason for all of their turmoil and problems. The keyword in this opening part of his letter is wisdom. He uses various iterations of wisdom 13 times to create a contrast between God’s wisdom and the knowledge of men.
The revealed wisdom of God through Christ is far superior to anything a person thinks they know or could come up with. Verse 25 says, “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”
God is always seeking to make himself and his wisdom known. He uses several ways to show us who He is and what we should do. God reveals himself through the Bible, through nature, through the conscience, through events and circumstances, through other people, and through the person and teachings of Jesus Christ. There is no excuse for us to not know God, to not access His wisdom and apply His knowledge to every situation and circumstance in our lives.
We cannot know God and his ways through our means and knowledge alone. Verse 21 states that “the world through its wisdom did not know God” meaning that we cannot access God’s truth and power on our terms. But if we humble ourselves in light of the cross and walk away from the arrogant reliance on our reason, intellect, and technology, we could have the uncommon sense and supernatural wisdom we need to succeed in life and to glorify God.
If we truly seek the Lord, our decision-making, business dealings, relationships and everything we attempt can be underwritten by the clarity, foresight, judgment, and acumen that comes from God’s perfect wisdom. There is no limit to what we can accomplish. There is no boundary to the health of our relationships. There is no obstacle or sin we can’t overcome and there is no cap on what we can do for God when we exchange our common knowledge for the uncommon sense of God’s wisdom.
Paul summed it up this way in verse 18, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.”
I was given a poem from the Tuesday Bible study:
Let us all live in peace and love
Enjoying the blessings showered from above
Let all of you show humility and take steps to foster unity
Let all be kind and strive to help your fellow man
Let all not seek to create strife
Causing pain in each other’s life
What that means to me is for us to try and make the world a place of peace and harmony as the Creator intended it to be.
This is as beautiful as it is powerful, Jeri. Not only is it a touching poem, but it reads like a prayer for all believers. It is a personal prayer and one that could be spoken in community as well.
May we all strive for God to give us the humility and submission to Him and His Spirit that will lead us to express love, kindness, and unity in any environment or situation you find ourselves. It would certainly make the world a better place.
The world’s ways and wisdom are lacking and sometimes foolishness. God’s wisdom and ways are greater. I know, for me, I would rather rely on God’s real-time wisdom than lean on my own understanding. Obedience is better than sacrifice and responding to God is better than my wisdom.
I couldn’t agree more, Ken. I was reflecting on 1 Corinthians 1 and 2 this morning and also reading in Proverbs 16. My attention and heart were drawn to the combination of these verses:
Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. – 1 Cor. 1:20, 25
We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer. Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. – Proverbs 16:1, 3, 9, 25
It is pretty clear that one of the themes woven throughout Scripture is that man is not God as much as he wants to be, thinks he can be or feels like he should be. His wisdom, power, and ways are higher, more powerful and should be regarded above anything we can come up with on our own. It seems right to us but never ends well. God’s way never fails.
1 Corinthians 1:9 says, “God is faithful (reliable, trustworthy, and therefore ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on); by Him, you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
God is so Faithful, you can trust Him, and depend on Him for everything because He loves you! What it takes is for you to really believe that. It takes participating in a relationship with Jesus as soon as you give your life to Him so you can go to heaven when you leave here.
While you’re here, the more you spend time with God asking Him how you should live day by day, you become more like Jesus. The key is to follow Jesus’ life and learn from others what is good and what is not. You and I were called into companionship and participation with God’s son Jesus Christ.
Companionship is defined as “a feeling of fellowship or friendship.” Companionship is that state of being friends, but it goes deeper than even a friendship. It is a closeness or familiarity, a true fellowship among two people who for whatever reasons have truly connected.
When you connect with Jesus you just know He is there and you can talk to Him anytime. The more you get connected and tuned in, you can hear Him more and you know who you are to Him. Jesus loves you, so follow Him first and He will never let you down. It’s the world and its ways that will let you down.
Heidi, I love your distinction of companionship when it comes to our walk with Jesus. It is certainly deeper than even friendship. Just reading and understanding the definition of the word companionship suggests that we should never treat our relationship with Jesus as casual, seasonal or anything other than close and intimate.
It also shows us that his love, strength, and connection are readily available to us and not just there to be accessed out of convenience or just when we feel like it much like a casual friendship can be. It is much more meaningful, powerful and lasting with Jesus. Thank you for pointing this out!