I have a question for you. How much time have you been spending in God’s word lately? How would that amount of time compare with time you’ve spent on social media - or time spent watching other media? What if you combined the amount of time you spend in prayer and in the Word: would it add up to more of your time than the time you’ve been consuming media?
Remember the parable of the seeds, where one of the plants grew up strong but then was choked by the weeds? The weeds of this world are always ready for us. They spring up. We have a choice at their arrival: weeding, waiting, or watering. Pulling up the weeds is a constant battle - they’re resilient. Waiting ensures eventual weed takeover - where a gradual, consistent weeding would have made the job a simple daily exercise, there is now a task that requires a set-aside time to fully clear out. Then there’s watering. Let’s talk about watering.
We are always being watered by the things of this world. Look around. Marketing exists to try and convince us we need something (that, most often, we don’t truly need) in order to be happy, successful, popular, or comfortable. This is a stark contrast to our lives with Jesus, where we can say, “the Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.”
We have a choice of how often we water ourselves in God’s gifts - His Word, prayer, worship, meditation, fasting - how do you draw near? How do you press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of you?
“Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a ‘fool’ so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight…” 1 Corinthians 3:18-19a NIV
What is considered wise by the standards of our age?
I see it in the self-sufficiency and financial independence preached to us from a young age: do well in school, get a degree, get a high-paying job, get a house. Get, get, get. Gain, achieve, then save up to rest in luxury later.
I see it in the language of wokeness emerging as its own good news for the poor: do the work to learn your privilege, get woke, speak up about it regularly and loudly, call out others on their ignorance or complacency.
To clarify, neither of these paths are inherently bad; However, I see them as wisdom in the standards of our age. What else do you see as wisdom by the standards of our age?
“I will come to you very soon...and find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” 1 Corinthians 4:19-20 NIV
Here is what I believe it comes to: where is our power coming from? For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. The Holy Spirit indwells in our lives, giving us the power to live a life like Jesus.
But where have I drawn my power from? Financial security rooted in the wisdom of this age? Social capital rooted in the wisdom of this age? Or am I drawing on the eternal, impossible power of the Holy Ghost breathing life into me?
As I may be weak and foolish
yet free and impossibly at peace
in the midst of our country’s chaos.
It could be that these next few months do not unfold with the amount of drama I’ve been wondering about. It could be that they do. In either case, I pray we as Christ’s body would not be defined by appropriated wisdom of this age,
but by power given by His Spirit
working through us each individually in our pieces,
and together as we’re boldly unified
beyond any earthly difference:
the kinds of differences that would
divide those defined by the wisdom of this age.
I keep repeating “the wisdom of this age,” I know. Here is why:
“For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel - not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” 1 Corinthians 1:17 (I encourage you to read through the rest of this chapter, as well).
Lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. Oh friends. Are we living in a way that allows the cross of Christ its full power? Or are we trusting in our own words, our own wisdom, our own ability to provide, our own strength?
Nothing can change the power of His work on the cross. He has said, “it is finished.” So we live with no fear of evil, even in the valley of the shadow of death, because we know the ultimate battle has been fought and won. Now we get to continue in His light and life - breathing through us - “doing even greater things” than He Himself did, because He is now deposited by His Spirit into each of our lives scattered around the whole world. THAT is power.
I write this to encourage you to trust in that awesome power. The wisdom of this age will tempt us to rely on our own strength, ability to learn and adapt, and leave us insecure as we look to a future where these fickle things could be stripped away. The Kingdom gives us freedom to be weak. Good gracious. In our weakness, He is strong. His strength is shown all the more in our weakness. “Weak is exactly how I want you.”
If you’ve felt afraid, shaken, unsettled or unsure - I invite you into His presence. He gently pulls out those weeds we’ve mistaken to be our trellises; He understands the beauty and brokenness embodied in our little fleeting lives; But, He is the vine. We are the branches. We need not fear, we lack nothing, we are grafted into the family. I am holding your hand, another branch at your side. I love you and I miss you.
Only in His strength,
- InterVarsity Fall Conference starts tomorrow - please pray that it would be a set-aside, blessed, restful place for many students to listen to God's leading. That I'd do my part of the work of making it happen well, and listen to the Spirit throughout.
- I hope to finish the Clay Pots mural next week, before October 24th. Pray I'd have endurance, strength, joy, and safety on a tall ladder! Thank you.
As always, please send me your prayer requests.