In the past several years I've heard this said in various ways and it always hits me hard. I just heard it again this evening in an interview with John Piper, that I was watching. "You cannot show that you are clever and at the same time that Christ is majestic" ... Really? Isn't there some way that we could have them both. All of us want to be admired by other people and I don't anticipate that drive ever completely going away for any of us. The problem comes when we allow that drive to take over our life choices.
Even as I write this, I'm aware of that fear inside of me that worries about your opinion of me as you read what I write. .... Recently, one of our brightest and best young men told me that he started reading my e-mail, but after about a paragraph he quit because it looked too long. (You know who you are if you've made it this far) and yes, I just put an emoji in a church e-mail.
Back to my subject: I dislike poor preaching and lame church services as much as anyone else. (especially when it's me doing it) What's even worse than being lame though, is trying to be amazing and succeeding at it. Paul didn't seem to think that he could be amazing and rely on the power of the Holy Spirit at the same time, so he wrote to the Corinthian church, "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." (I Corinthians 2:1-5 NLT)
I assume that we all understand that this isn't a call for sloppiness or being weird. The point is to draw attention and admiration to God. If I'm drawing attention to myself by my excellence or my carelessness the results are the same. Would you look around your circle of people? Who do you want them to admire and be amazed by?
See You Sunday!