Turning our thinking upside down
Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. 1 Corinthians 3:18-19
Every day we are bombarded with powerful images of what it means to be successful. The advertising and entertainment industries feed us with a continual stream of pictures of wealthy, powerful, glamorous and successful people and urge us to be like them. Life was different in Paul’s day in so many ways, but the same worldly pressures were present. Here Paul encourages the Corinthian believers to turn their thinking upside down. True wisdom would never be found in following the world’s standards and fashions, but only by following their humble, crucified Lord.
Paul’s particular concern was the way in which the Corinthian Christians had lined themselves up behind different leaders. This was such a waste of time and energy, and was a perfect illustration of acting according to this world’s standards. Paul would have none of it. He was simply a servant and the last thing he wanted was to be followed by a group of adoring disciples. Jesus showed the full extent of his love not by being humanly impressive, but by dying on a cross as he was mocked by the crowds.
The challenge we face is that we are, every day, encouraged to measure our lives by the world’s standards. Our careers, money, homes and cars are what people see and from which they draw conclusions about us. But Jesus urges us to measure our lives by love. To what extent are we giving ourselves to those around us? Are we willing to help the weak and vulnerable, even though we might get no thanks or reward? Are we sharing the good news of the cross of Christ, or are we looking for something that will sound more attractive to modern ears?
Every day God is in the radical business of helping us to turn our thinking upside down.
In what ways has God upended your thinking over the past year?
Lord God, thank you that you are continually challenging me to think as you think. Amen
Photograph – Clonard Chapel and Monastery, Belfast