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1 Corinthians 1:27, but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong

I started in ministry believing that to be a great preacher I needed to be what I observed in other men who I believed to be great preachers. I even spoke like, acted like, and mimicked some of the best men I knew. The problem was that acting has its limits. I thought this might bring me respect and the privilege of sharing the Gospel. Truthfully, without substantial internal and foundational elements, appearance will only carry one so far. Most likely, one is destined to fail at being anyone other than themselves.

Many servants and churches spend a lot of time trying to look good. It is only natural to want the respect of others. Self-respect and complexity are admired by most. Foolishness is generally rejected by society.

While scripture encourages us to live out wisdom, honest faith usually reveals our weaknesses through personal admission or casual observation. It is just the nature of who we are. We follow Jesus, who defined, would not logically be our savior – yet He is. We extend ourselves to inordinate lengths for our faith. We commend holy behavior even when it costs us friends and income. No amount of elegant theological explanation can explain the strange outcome our faith sometimes produces.

The fact is that regardless of our apparently inept selves, seekers of God will be drawn to the power and righteousness that has changed us. While it is not our place to define God, we expect God to be a certain way. Anyone trying to define God is not looking for God, they are looking for religion. Jesus was not elegant in His life. He was a Galilean born to a poor carpenter. He was born under questionable circumstances and taught strange and sometimes offensive things. (Ask any Pharisee) There was nothing in the appearance of Christ that demanded a respect of His deity and yet those who knew Him loved Him in the most sacrificial way. Interestingly, those who really hunger for God are not concerned with appearance.

Two things. First, we need to accept the fact that God will manifest His power and character in unanticipated ways. We will not find Him in the luxurious rooms of some mansion. He will be found in a dirty manger or a simple life or a cruel and undeserved end. Perhaps, He can be found in someone as unlikely as the one who writes this note. Next, we need to allow Christ to be whoever He wants to be within us. He is not willing to allow us to glamorize our faith with the delicate and decaying ornaments of this world. He desires a sincere canvas to work for His own purposes. May we always be the willing clay, in a world of the perpetually embarrassed, the fearful, and the spiritually dead. Living for God can be tumultuous. Living for God can be rewarding. Most of all, “I’d rather be a fool in the eyes of man, than a fool in the eyes of God.” (Anonymous) Godspeed on your journey.