CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN NETWORK
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ONLY ... WITH GOD
Throughout history, God has consistently used the weak and lowly to demonstrate His power and glory, resisting those who are proud and self-confident. In the selected text, God tells us that He is looking for people who are foolish in the eyes of the world, so that He may confound the strong and mighty in their own ways. The greatest biblical characters, in the eyes of God, were not those who boasted of their abilities, but those who realized their limitations and depended on God to meet their needs. The more self-sufficient and capable a person is, the less room there is for God to manifest Himself. Reflecting on those times when Christ’s power was the greatest in his life, Apostle Paul said: “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong,” - 2 Corinthians 12:10. As he learned to depend more on Christ to meet his needs, Christ became more real to him, and accomplished far greater things through him.
Joseph, Gideon, and David were the least of their families, yet it was they who God would use in the mightiest ways. Even so great a figure as Samuel was confounded that God would pass over the tallest, the brightest, and the best. Surely not questioning the correctness of God’s choice, yet he simply could not believe that God would not choose the best. Perhaps this element of “best” is the very key we need to unlock and better understand a characteristic of God. What is best in the eyes of God? Shouldn’t we strive to be the best? Should we accept mediocrity as a standard?
Our modern world constantly drills us with competitive themes: “We’re number one!” “We’re number one!” “We’re number one!” The word best equals dominance, strength, and victory. Best means conquering someone or something. This is one reason why fights occur as sporting events, and fans die in wanton acts of violence. Intense emotions build steadily during the game, and yearn to be released. Machoism seeks for victims, in order to demonstrate that someone is the “best.”
In the Bible, we learn that Christ taught us to be our best through being faithful. In the eyes of God, best means seeking for divine guidance and continually believing that God is loving and trustworthy to provide that guidance. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you,” - Matthew 6:33. In this simple statement lies a very profound truth. We are encouraged to divert our energies away from the pursuit of materials and power, and strive to accomplish the work of God’s kingdom here on earth. Rather than follow modern voices which crave immediate satisfaction, we need to focus our hearts, minds, and inner soul on righteousness. Christ plainly states that God knows our need of sufficient goods for each day, and will graciously bestow them upon us, as we demonstrate our intention to conduct our lives according to His expectations.
Only too young? Only too small? Only too dumb? Only too poor? We may become our best for God if “only” we decide to live according to the teachings of Christ as revealed in the New Testament, and trust Him to become our sufficiency each day. We can be our best if we forgive others as we desire them to forgive us. We can become our best for God if we spend quality time with God, and permit Him to fill us with special love for others. A glass that is full of water cannot be filled, only one that is empty. It is difficult for God to fill a person with divine attributes when they are already full of self-sufficiency. But when a person is empty of self inclinations, they may easily receive that which emanates from God. We may become our best for God when we trust “only” God to determine our course of life and establish our prerogatives.
“God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise;
and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.”
1 Corinthians 1:27