Who Are You Speaking For?

1 Corinthians 2:1-8 – When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness–timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God. 

Yet when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten. No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God–His plan that was previously hidden, even though He made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. 

Persuasive Speaking

Politicians and pastors address their congregations very similarly, in mannerism, voice inflection, persuasive speaking, and wide gesticulations of the hands and arms. Their stories and their supporting evidence tug at our heartstrings and at our minds, swaying us over to their side. However, there is one key difference, and that is the spirit that is present when one or the other is speaking. 2 Corinthians 4:5 – We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord. That’s it, right there. A speaker in a church isn’t trying to get you to vote for them. As Pastor Kris Vallotton says, we preach not to convince you, but to inspire you. A speaker in a church gathering is speaking in witness to Jesus, in testament to the love of God. When you’re speaking for yourself, you only have your voice, your experiences, your evidence to go off of. When you’re speaking on behalf of someone else, you have their story coupled with how they’ve impacted your story. You have His Word, and the demonstration of His word in your life: your testimony.


Power Sources

Politicians get their power from hiding their past and covering up their hearts. Politicians are all about public image, trying to build up their power in their eyes and everyone else’s eyes, and media snakes spend years trying to get under their skin, dig up old secrets, expose old skeletons in the closet. Politicians, company leaders, school principals–they’re all speaking for themselves. Why on earth would anyone trust them if everyone knew about the stuff in their lives that make them vulnerable?

But Kingdom power is the exact opposite. You lay out your life and you expose your weaknesses and you let people crucify you just as Christ was crucified. You open yourself to criticism and you receive every wound. We get our power from being exposed, vulnerable, and weak. Why? Because then, everyone will know that the strength that we have is not by our own power, or by anything we did. Our lives are a living testimony pointing to God’s goodness. We were instructed by Christ Himself not to defend ourselves or where we stand. Our instructions were simply to tell the world the Good News that He is alive, and to spread throughout the world as His apostles and transform the cultures of all nations.


Kingdom Motive

I would like to propose to you that we as Christians do not speak because we are good speakers. Paul himself wasn’t a good speaker in person; he was more a persuasive and talented writer than a gifted speaker. But that didn’t stop him from speaking. So why didn’t he just stick to writing? Surely he would have been more convincing that way? I believe the simpler answer is that Paul didn’t speak because he had something to say; he spoke because he had to. We all have options of using the gifts we’ve been given to glorify God, but we all have one thing in common, and that’s confessing with our mouths that He is Lord. We don’t speak because we like it or because we’re good at it. We speak because we have to. Because we’re not speaking for ourselves. We’re not defending ourselves. 

Faith makes you do crazy things, and love makes you do crazy things. If you have both, then you’re doubly crazy–which is good, because Paul said that if we look crazy, it’s for God’s benefit, but if we look sane, it’s for man’s benefit. 

Proverbs 3:5 says not to lean on our own understanding. According to my own understanding, if I stay bottled up about my weaknesses, if I build up an image for myself and let people think I’m something greater than I am by my own power, then I will gain more power on earth. But, as Misty Edwards puts it, “This is the inside outside upside down Kingdom where you die to live and you lose to gain.” If you want promotion in the Kingdom, you’ve gotta go low. You’ve gotta be weak. You have to project your weaknesses even if they’re all you have. Why? Because it points to our source of power. 


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sarah May
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 13:33:25

    “Faith makes you do crazy things, and love makes you do crazy things. If you have both, then you’re doubly crazy–which is good, because Paul said that if we look crazy, it’s for God’s benefit, but if we look sane, it’s for man’s benefit. ”

    Whoa. O_O I literally said “Whoa” out loud at that. Good stuff.

    And very timely now that we’re seeing the media doing what it does best and digging up buried skeletons of the presidential candidates. Um, how about looking at who they’ve been in the past year rather than who they were ten years ago? I know it’s not that simple, because you are choosing someone to lead your country for at least the next four years, but…

    The more I read about Paul, the more I think I -really- need to put time aside to read what the Bible says about him. 🙂


    • Hannah
      Nov 08, 2011 @ 09:10:51

      He’s an amazing man. So humble. And he doesn’t dodge around issues at all. Romans is delicious, but long. I’d start in Galatians. Then go to Philippians. And I also suggest pacing yourself, like read a chapter (or even just six verses) per day. Every time I open up one of the epistles, I get a completely new and beautiful perspective! It’s wonderful. 🙂


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