When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. 1 Cor. 2:1-4 (NLT)
Heavenly Father, Paul’s model of relying on the Spirit, and nothing in himself, is both indicting and inviting to me. By the work of the gospel in his heart, Paul pretty much got over himself. He believed he mattered, but he wasn’t the point. He left being awesome to Jesus.
His freedom exposes the performer and perfectionist in me. I can still lapse into “approval suck” living—seeking to gain and maintain people’s approval by what I do. Likewise, I often consider a day “good” or “bad,” based on the quality and quantity of my production. Rather than boasting in Christ alone, I often look to find something boast-worthy in me. Performance-based living is such a crummy way to do life—one that contradicts the way of grace.
Father, thank you for intending, and securing, our freedom by Jesus’ performance. Perfection can only be found in one place—in Him. What you think of us is all that really matters, and, according to the gospel, you love us as much as you love Jesus. We believe; help our unbelief.
Of course, what other’s think about us—and how we think of ourselves, is going to impact us. We’re human, not robotic. But you’ve given us the same standing in grace and the same Holy Spirit you gave Paul. Thank you, a gazillion times over. So, owning my weakness, I’ll seek to rely on the Holy Spirit all week long. Forsaking all scorecards, mirrors, and thermometers, I’ll seek to make Jesus my primary boast, peace, and joy.
Father, all week long… grant me quick repentances, good listening, and words for building others up, according to their needs. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus loving and powerful name.