Topic: Nothing But Christ [14th October 2018]
And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone. — Matthew 14:23
I’ve tried to imagine what it would have been like to go to Corinth or other Greek cities at the time of Paul and try to speak to those wise, brilliant thinkers. After studying every parchment given to me, and gaining knowledge of all their arguments, I would have prayed for God to help me overcome their objections.
We don’t know what Paul did, but his answer is astounding. Instead of going after them with great reasoning and sharp logic, he went in exactly the opposite direction. He stayed in Corinth a year and a half, and many came to Christ because of him.
Later, when he wrote 1 Corinthians, he said, For I made the decision to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified (2:2).
That’s amazing. If any man had the ability to reason with those Greeks and could show them the fallacies of their logic, surely that man was Paul. But, being led by the Holy Spirit, he chose a defenseless presentation—to let God speak through him and touch the hearts of the people.
Now, centuries later, I appreciate his approach—although I didn’t always feel this way. For a long time I wanted to explain and reason out everything, but when that didn’t work, I ended up feeling miserable.
I’ve always been curious, always wanted to know, and always wanted to figure out the answer. Then, God began to work in my life. He showed me that my constant drive to figure it out caused me confusion and prevented me from receiving many of the things He wanted me to have. He said, “You must lay aside carnal reasoning if you expect to have discernment.”
I didn’t like loose ends, so I felt more secure when I figured things out. I wanted to be in control of every detail of every situation. When I didn’t understand or was unable to figure things out, I felt out of control. And that was frightening to me. Something was wrong—I was troubled and had no peace of mind. Sometimes, frustrated and exhausted, I would just give up.
It was a long battle for me because I finally admitted something to myself (God knew it all along): I was addicted to reasoning. It was more than a tendency or desire to figure out things. It was a compulsion. I had to have answers—and had to have them right now. When God was finally able to convince me of my addiction, I was able to give it up.
It wasn’t easy. Like people who withdraw from drugs or alcohol, I had withdrawal symptoms. I felt lost. Frightened. Alone. I had always depended on my ability to figure things out. Now, like Paul, I had to depend on God.
Too many people assume that relying only on God is something we do easily and naturally. It didn’t work that way with me. But God was gracious and patient with me. It was as if He’d whisper, “You’re not there yet, Joyce, but you’re making progress. It’s uncomfortable because you’re learning a new way to live.”
God wants us to be victorious—and I knew that all along. Now I walk in greater victory than ever before—and I no longer try to reason out everything before I act.
Prayer Starter: Heavenly Father, thank You for being so patient with me and people like me who feel we must have all the answers before we can act or trust. In the name of Jesus, help me to simply trust in You, knowing that You will give me what is best for my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.