ThursdayDevotion – “Not on Eloquence but God’s Power” 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
#ThursdayDevotion – “Not on Eloquence but God’s Power” 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
“And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.[a] 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (NIV)
Power versus Eloquence
In today’s reading, the Apostle Paul spoke of his qualification as an apostle and messenger of the Gospel. The people were comparing him to other teachers and preachers, some who were true teachers while others were false teachers. It was known to the apostle that there were teachers who were better skilled in public speaking than he was, but he also noted that these were the very ones who are leading them astray and bringing disunity among them. These eloquent speakers were divisive as they were impressive.
So, Apostle Paul in verses 1 to 5 drew them back to his visit to them in Corinth. He told them to remember how the message he had preached came with the demonstration of God’s power, particularly in bringing salvation and transformation in the lives of the hearers, though it was not “impressive” by human terms.
Impressed with Eloquence can lead to idolatry
We live in time of where we can access amazing speakers and preachers on the internet with great ease. Some of us frequent these preachers for their eloquence and highly electrifying preaching styles. They have become our online “pastor”. But, if we are not careful, we end up idolizing them, and instead of drawing closer to God, we become a fan of the preacher. This was what happened in the Church of Corinth.
I have sat through many sermons and I must admit that at first hearing, these preachers do sound wise. They use words like a master painter painting on a canvas or like a master sculptor sculpting a lump of clay into a beautiful masterpiece. It is simply mesmerizing and captivating. I find myself drawn into their carefully crafted words, illustrations, and rhetorics but often leaving the auditorium feeling empty, unfed, unfilled, dissatisfied. These were “wisdom” without God’s power.
Friends, there are many good and amazing speakers out there. The internet is an amazing resource for us to access these wealth of Bible teachers. But in your search of truth, be selective. Have a set of biblical criteria and develop a discernment to recognize the “hot air” preachers from the Spirit-filled and empowered preachers.
The goal of a Spirit-filled preacher is not to draw people to him but to lead them toward Christ “so that [their] faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power (verse 5).” When you listen or read a Christian sermon or article, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you if the wisdom spoken or written glorifying Jesus Christ and aligned to the Gospel preached by the apostles.
My prayer for you is that you will be mature in your faith so that you will be wise in God.
Ephesians 4:13-15 (NIV),
“13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”
Father, may I grow in maturity and wisdom so that I may not be swayed by lies and deception. Holy Spirit guide me into the truth of the Gospel in Jesus Christ. Amen.