1When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. – 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
It’s hard to know who we should believe anymore. So many people making so many promises about so many things – it’s difficult to know what’s true, what’s false, what’s good or what’s bad. Watch TV and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Commercials tell you what products are new, improved, cheaper, better, stronger, easier, faster, longer-lasting, and more aromatic. And it’s not just the commercials that are trying to sell you something. Television shows of every kind are trying to persuade you of something. Talk shows use their format to share information and opinions. Dramatic shows and sitcoms speak to us about specific themes – offering us methods of handling situations in our lives by watching our favorite actors play out those scenes before us. The news media provides us impartial information along with plenty of opinionated analysis. With all of this opportunity for people to hear the thoughts and opinions of others on so many topics, is it any wonder that so many people have no original thoughts on most topics? Republicans and Democrats watch channels that are slanted to their own political views, allowing the average person to simply quote their favorite talking head in conversations without giving their words a moment’s thought.
Is that a good thing? People are more informed now than ever before, but it seems that repeating information and understanding information are two very different things. There is nothing wrong with seeking the thoughts of other people, but while those thoughts are valuable for perspective and entertaining over a cup of coffee, they must not be the basis for every decision we make in life. What good is it for me to impress others by repeating the thoughts and ideas of other people? I could very easily sit here are write the words of another author, to tell you all of the great things he said and why they are correct and important. But if I did, then I would honestly have to ask you why would you read what I’m writing? Save the time and the money and just go buy the other guy’s book.
Think about this in the terms of a dating or marriage relationship. How fulfilling would your relationship be if your partner simply agreed with everything you said? I know that there must be compatibility and a level of agreement in the things that couples find important: faith, finances, raising children and the like. But I’ve dated people in the past who had no opinion other than mine and I found that spending time together in conversation with her unfulfilling. I want to be challenged to think, to discover, and to grow.
God desires that we do the same in our relationship with Him. We don’t often think about our God in those terms, but try it for just a moment. Doesn’t God challenge us in our relationship with Him? This isn’t to say that God plays games with us; there’s none of that “If you really love me, you would…,” kind of stuff. God is not a jealous ex, or a passive-aggressive friend trying to manipulate your relationship. He is straight shooter who tells you honestly what He desires of us. More than that, He also reveals to us the blessings in store for us if we live our lives in obedience to His Word. Christ states clearly for us in John 14:21-24. “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” Then Judas said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”
Beyond that, He takes two more steps to insure our ability to do the things He wants us to do. He sends His Son to die and rise so that our sins will no longer keep us apart from Him. He also sends the Spirit, who will guide and strengthen us to give our lives completely to God. Jesus Himself reminds us of this truth again: “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:15-17).