I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
–1 Corinthians 2:2
If you want to be used by God in a powerful way, it is natural to ask, “What kind of person does God use?” The world’s wisdom says God uses the attractive and the gifted. God’s wisdom says He uses the faithful and the committed.
Contrary to what many people think about Paul, he was not attractive or charismatic. In fact, in 2 Corinthians 10:10, Paul repeated what other people were saying about him: “His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible.”
That was the apostle Paul. And when he went to the Corinthians after the failure on Mars Hill, he made up his mind that he was not going to depend upon philosophical arguments; instead, he was going to present the simple message of the cross. Look at 1 Corinthians 2:2: “I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”
Why did he choose to preach the simple gospel? Look at verse 5: “So that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” Had Paul been attractive and charismatic, people would have been attracted to Paul’s giftedness rather than to Christ’s mercy. So Paul was saying, “The reason God used me to present the gospel to you is so there would be no mistake in whom you approached for salvation. You were not becoming disciples of Paul; you were becoming disciples of Jesus Christ.”
Does that mean God cannot use wealthy people or people with PhDs or people in places of power? Not at all. But for those people to be used by God, they have to let go of their reliance on their wisdom, their wealth, and their influence and depend solely on the power of God.
When I was in high school, somebody gave me a summary of Oswald J. Smith’s work “The Man God Uses.” It made such an impression on me that I wrote it down in the back of my Bible: “He has but one great purpose in life. He, by God’s grace, has removed every hindrance from his life. He has placed himself absolutely at God’s disposal. He has learned how to prevail in prayer. He is a student of the Word. He has a vital message for a lost world. He is a man of faith who expects results. He works in the anointing of the Holy Spirit.” By depending on God’s power instead of your abilities, you can be the kind of person God uses.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Person God Uses” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.
Oswald J. Smith, “The Man God Uses” (London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1970), chapter 1.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.