Most people want to be great. We want others to think of us as great. We care about our self-worth far more than we let on. Just look at Facebook where we post pictures of perfect meals, hair dos, children, grandchildren, flowers in our gardens, Starbucks orders etc.
1 Corinthians 1 26-31 speaks directly to this. It speaks to Christians who care what others think. It speaks to those who want to be a thought leader, a style leader, a workplace leader. It’s not always bad to want influence. As Christians, it seems like the more influence we can have, the more we can impact the world. In Corinth, the church was not looking for the famous to get saved. Some simply wanted to become famous themselves and got caught up in the quest for popularity and influence. They longed for respect and approval. They wanted others to like them and to value them. They wanted to be great. And we all know this feeling. We live under the illusion that God needs greatness.
In a nutshell, we read in I Corinthians 1 26-31 that God works despite us, not because of us. Who we are, what we bring to the table doesn’t really help God out.
I think about this–our God spoke the world into being. He put nature on pause so that the sun would appear to stand still in the sky for a full day. He has made men walk in a furnace without a mark or hint of smoke. He has brought people back from the dead. Jesus Himself has shown His power over death. If any of those are true, and they all are–I really don’t think that He’s in need of someone influential, rich or powerful to help Him.
Paul reminds them who they were—not wise, not mighty, not noble. There weren’t a lot of Rhodes Scholars–this wasn’t the AP class. There weren’t a lot of the jocks, not much of the varsity team here. Paul says to them, and to us–---remember who you are. Even if we are smart or rich or powerful, God saves us in spite of that, not because of that. There is nothing in us that was appealing to God. And even now, what makes us appealing to God is only Jesus. His righteousness in us is what makes us acceptable to God.
God saved us so that we could make a big deal about who God is. 2 Peter 1:9, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
Let’s reset how we think–what we have that is good---- our family, our friends, our house, our warm clothes, our full stomach. We do not have it because of how great we are. We do not have it because we are particularly faithful to God. We do not have it because God is more pleased with us. ------We are blessed despite who we are, not because of it. God gave us the spouse, kids, family, friends, house, clothes, stomach and nose that we have–all so that we would boast about Him. It is not about us but about telling others about what He has done despite us. God loves this type of boasting.
Jeremiah 9:23 to 24, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the Lord.”
Those are the kind of things that we need to boast about–not to our glory, but to God’s. God has chosen us for something far better than talking about ourselves. He chose us to brag about Him.