“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’” 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
Isn’t it so like God to orchestrate things in ways that are convoluted to natural human tendency? Everything about Him is superior to our limited vision, ability, and power. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, His ways are far higher, His paths are beyond our tracing out. In order to keep setting us straight and remind us Who is really in charge, He sovereignly designs our circumstances and calls us to missions where we cannot help but know He is all in all. (Isaiah 55:8-9; Romans 11:33-36)
Acknowledging our limitations, weaknesses, and that our hearts are prone to wander is key to understanding the magnificence of our salvation. That Jesus would choose us, and willingly give His life for us, is the ultimate epiphany in humbling us before the Almighty. He is the Source, not only of our very lives, but of the awakening of our spiritual senses to His great mercy and immeasurable love toward us. (John 15:16)
Knowing this, how are we to live? A pompous swagger in self-confidence gives a false impression of our Servant-King. Being certain of God’s gift of faith and our calling to salvation instead infuses us with gratitude, and bubbles forth in humble submission to His ways and zealous outworking of the good He intends us to do. We conduct ourselves with the self-giving of Jesus so attention is drawn to Him, the One worthy of praise. (Matthew 5:16; 20:28; Ephesians 2:8-10)
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross… it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:3-8,13
Where do we hold misplaced or inaccurate confidence in ourselves? Are we prone to compare our ideas, talents, and actions to a low common denominator rather than to God’s grace, and therefore foolishly think of ourselves more highly than we ought? What difference would it make, in our own attitude and in others’ attraction to Christ in us, if we boasted only in Him and His cross? (Romans 12:3; Galatians 6:14)
Lord Jesus, thank You for bearing my shame to bring about my righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. May I so walk that Your life, Your wisdom, and the power of Your Cross are lifted high and praised.