Paul is explaining to the Corinthian church the way in which he is able to preach. He wants them to understand that, ultimately, human wisdom will always fall short when compared with wisdom that comes from God and that is imparted by the Holy Spirit. Instead of preaching using trendy words that sound great, he "came in weakness." When he came in weakness, he was able to demonstrate the power of God at work. He was able to share the "wonderful things that God has freely given us" when he relied on the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit.
This matters to us, because we are called to "go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). So often we will put pressure on ourselves to make that happen because we believe we have to do this out of our own strength. That we have to have all the right answers. That we have to "win-over" people through a persuasive argument so that they can believe in God. But Paul is telling us that isn't the case. Instead, God's power "works best in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). When we come in our own weaknesses, in our own deficiencies, we are actually making more room for God to move in power in others' lives. This is great news! As Christians, we all have access to the Holy Spirit, meaning that we all have the wisdom of God living inside us. We can actually live out the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19, because others' salvation has nothing to do with wisdom that we muster up, but with our obedience to break the silence and let God, through the Holy Spirit living in you, do the rest. The pressure is off.
This means that in our daily lives whenever we interact with people, we actually have the opportunity to share the Gospel and share the heart of God with his children. We don't have to be afraid to share the gospel, because we aren't tallying the results of conversations and interactions we have-- "conversions" or "failures." When we get ourselves out of the way by humbling ourselves, and then follow the urging of the Holy Spirit to simply engage with those around us, we are being obedient to God-- a great place to see him move in power and change lives. By letting go of the worry of having all the answers or the perfect wording, we will truly begin to partner with God in making disciples of all nations.
Pray that the Lord would remove any pressure you feel to "convince" people of who He is. Pray that the Lord would instead reveal your weaknesses, and His perspective on them. That you would begin to see your weaknesses as His strength, and you would begin to have opportunities to live out of them. Pray that the Lord's voice would begin to come through loud and clear-- that you would be able to be obedient to the Holy Spirit calling you to certain people and places, and that the only wisdom you'll rely on is the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Pray that God would give you the courage to step out in faith, even when it is scary. Pray to have God's heart for the people around you.
Author | Erin Gilleland