Monday, June 22, 2009

Devotions - Maturity Of Approah

Good Monday morning everyone. I pray you are looking forward to this week with eager anticipation of what the Father will do. And I pray you are eager to participate is this great life he has given us. We are looking at 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.

This is actually a continuation from Saturday where we were talking about how we must remain humble in our attitude. We ourselves are not much but with the power of the resurrection pumping through us we can be awesome in God's work. Paul uses himself as a personal example:

When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. v. 1

Remember that Corinth was in lower Greece, a society that was compose of thinkers, philosophers. Paul is saying that he came in humility, not trying to match their eloquence of words. He says:

For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. v. 2

Some people today have taken this up as an anthem, as if Paul was saying this was his approach to ministry to everyone. That is not what he was saying here. In context he is saying that they did not have the humility or the maturity for him to go any further than the evangelical message of the cross. He could not go beyond the teaching of salvation. That is not a positive thing. That is where a lot of people are in the Church today, not understanding that the cross is the beginning. There is so much more. And because they do not let their roots go deeper they can easily fall away. We have to go deeper with Jesus, to mature past the cross.

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. vv. 3-5

This was a unique approach by Paul. He was a scholar coming to speak to philosophers about something that was hard for people of earthly wisdom to understand and accept. It is no different today. Isn't it interesting how the Father will approach everyone differently. Some people are called in great meetings where thousands come to know Jesus. With others it is in small groups. And with others he approaches them when they are alone. With some it is by someone's testimony. With others it is by great preaching. Still others it is a quiet voice. There are as many methods as there are people.

Paul could not use words to win the hearts of these people, it had to be signs, wonders and miracles. They had so much philosophy that they needed to have a demonstration of this resurrection power. Their faith could not depend on a fine sounding argument because their faith would disappear with the next fine sounding argument that came along.

As I read this I realize the importance of getting people to mature, to move on beyond the cross. It is not any of us who cause this maturing, although we can be used in the process. The work belongs to the Spirit. But like salvation people will not seek it if they are not aware of it. We must all grow in the Spirit, moving into the deeper things of Jesus. If you want to know where you are in that process take a look at Jesus. Then ask, am I like him? Can I do the things he did? Can I pray over the sick and see them healed. Can I forgive sins. Can I love the unlovable? Is the Kingdom center in all my thinking? In obedience am I willing to put others first while trusting the Father to look after me? Am I gripped by fear or do I have the peace of Christ? Do I madly love the Father?

I encourage you, get to know Jesus more and more every day. Then be open to being used by him in a variety of ways to introduce the gospel. Are you prepared to do miracles? I hope so. Let's be aware of who our audience is and let us allow the Holy Spirit to determine the method. Let's be used for Jesus today.

No comments: