Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)
Have you ever felt less than “influential” at work? Or felt like you were “lowly” or lacked the right “noble” family or pedigree for your career? Have you ever lacked the wisdom you need to do the work God has called you to do?
All of us have. So what are we supposed to do with the feelings of inadequacy Paul describes in today’s passage?
The burgeoning “self-help” industry’s answer to that question is to replace negative “self-talk” with “positive affirmations.” Is someone making you feel “lowly”? Forget about what they say. What matters is how you view yourself. Feeling like you don’t have what it takes to tackle the problem in front of you? Look in the mirror and tell yourself you can do it and that you are “enough.” In short, the world’s response to feeling inadequate is to inflate your self-esteem with pride.
Paul’s response couldn’t be more different. In today’s passage, Paul is calling us to embrace our inadequacies so that God might be glorified in our weakness. In verse 27, Paul says that God works through the “weak things” of the world—that’s us!—”so that no one may boast before” God or man.
God used ninety-year-old Sarah to give birth to a nation (see Genesis 17:17). God used ineloquent Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt (see Exodus 4:10). And he used lowly fishermen and tax collectors to help proclaim the gospel of the kingdom (see Matthew 4:18-22).
Believer, you don’t need to convince yourself that you are capable of doing the work God has called you to do today. The point is that you’re not! And that means that God alone deserves the glory for whatever you accomplish.
Paul David Tripp said it best: “God calls unable people to do important things because ultimately what he’s working on is not your immediate success, but that you would come to know him, to love him, to rest in his grace, and to live for his glory.”
Amen. Boast in your weakness this morning so that God alone may be glorified through your work!