I was reading 1 Corinthians 2 today and was struck by the very first verse:
“When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God”
Paul solidifies his opinions on this in verses 4 and 5, “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power”.
This verse is very similar to the podcast I was listening to today (Andy Stanley). He discussed becoming a Christian and how mature adults do not necessarily listen to wisdom concerning WHY to be a Christian. Even if we have specific problems that need overcoming, even if they are addressed specifically and well, even if the arguer concedes the point that often doesn’t work. Why? Our choice to follow Jesus Christ must be based on faith in his deeds and life and on an interactive, loving relationship where both parties are honoured (and Jesus honoured us with his life before we were born). If we try and base it on a purely intellectual decision, it is not faith at all. It is a systematic series of checkpoints that fit the limitations and expectations we have placed on the Christian God. It means we’ve reasoned out why this seems sensible within our own minds. The whole relationship is governed by our world view and our sense of what are satisifiable reasons to follow Jesus. Do we respect him in this relationship? Most probably. Do we honour him? Absolutely not. To honour Jesus is to acknowledge his whole life, death and resurrection. It is to believe he performed miracles and have the faith in God’s Holy Spirit that they can still be done today. It is to recognise that regardless of your personal perspective on whether the Bible has flaws or not, it is one way of several to communicate with God and it shares with us many perspectives on who Christ was, and is. Andy Stanley talks about loving and understanding the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and with all your mind. If we merely have the intellectual component, it is without heart, without love, without relationship. If we only have the spiritual component we are like noise in the wind, demanding great acts and behaving in an unintelligible manner to those who do not believe. We are claiming the fire of God on every person, pushing people to be slain in the spirit and talking in tongues for the joy of hearing ourselves talk in tongues. Everything is spiritual, there is a demon on every corner, every dream reflects an individually named spirit to these people. If we have a purely heart relationship, we love and love and love and get burned out. When we are questioned on our beliefs, we may falter and fall because our faith is not built on a rock but JUST on a relationship. Human relationships, likewise, cannot just be built on “love” because cold reality gets in the way. In my experience, men are more likely to fall prey to intellectual Christianity, women to heart/emotional Christianity.
We must own our relationship with God and invest in it as we would with a spouse. We must spend time with them even when it doesn’t suit us, love at all costs, believe that they can be capable of ANYTHING. Each element of God’s nature – love, wisdom and spirit – is essential for us to have anything remotely resembling an understanding of His character and to get near having a deep, strong, powerful relationship with our Creator and Saviour.