Saturday, March 21st, 2015
Paul's Powerful Priorities (Part 4)
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the Gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the Cross of Christ would not be made void.
1 Corinthians 1:17 (NASB)
But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:3 (NKJV)
We serve a Lord of boundless simplicity. He is revealed in a snowflake. Countless have fallen. No two are alike.*
Consider His Self-professed Name: 'God said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM.' And He said, 'Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you' ' (Exodus 3:14). Can two tiny Words describe God? Yes, by His design, plainness is profound, perfection is pure and excellence is elemental.
Now consider the titles we give to ourselves: royal highness, grand duke, board chairman, right reverend, executive president, and principle advisor. Letters of professional pedigree trail after names like puffs on the tail of a poodle: BA, MA, MD, JD, MBA, PhD, CFP. The more, the better.
By the standards of men, Paul had bragging rights. He was 'A Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee' (Acts 23:6), 'A Hebrew of the Hebrews' (Philippians 3:5), a citizen of Rome: a well-educated, multi-lingual, hard-working high achiever. Even so:
'What things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ... for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ' (Philippians 3:7-8).
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Don't be impressed by titles of talkers, awards of accomplishment, or crowns of celebrity. Don't desire them. Because celebrity is like standing on the head of a pin or the top of a temple. It's dangerous. Be like Jesus. He refused the position and stayed in submission.**
Be like Paul. He humbled himself: 'I am less than the least of all the Lord's people' (Ephesians 3:8). He didn't speak in 'Great swelling words of emptiness' (2 Peter 2:18), nor did he choose a fancy title, unless you consider 'A bond-servant of Jesus Christ' fancy (Romans 1:1).
If God brings fame upon you, example simplicity. Ride a donkey instead of a Rolls. Live in a house instead of a mansion. Speak of God's greatness instead of your own. Therein, you witness the King you follow.
To Be Continued...
* PBS News: The Science of Snowflakes and Why No Two Are Alike: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/the-science-of-snowflakes/
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Paul's Powerful Priorities series.