Attending church is one of the most important aspects of your Christian walk, and we must take our church community very seriously. Unfortunately, one of the most striking similarities that most churchgoers share with the non-Christian world is their ability to complain about the way the church operates. We all do it from time to time. But think positively for a minute:
1. If you could create the perfect church, what would it look like? (How would it be run? How would people act, reach out, worship, pray, and so on?)
If our lives and churches make perfect sense in light of human talent and strength, then something is missing: “I don’t want my life to be explainable without the Holy Spirit. I want people to look at my life and know that I couldn’t be doing this by my own power. I want to live in such a way that I am desperate for Him to come through” (Forgotten God, 142).
2. Consider your involvement with church life. In what ways do we tend to rely on natural talent as we strive to fulfill the church’s mission?
Read 1 Corinthians 1:26—2:5.
When Paul wrote his first letter to the church in Corinth, he had to address factions that were dividing the church. Groups were forming around attractive personalities (Paul, Apollos, Cephas). In order to address their preoccupation with human personalities and wisdom, Paul brought their focus back to the power of God, rather than the brilliance of men.
3. How does Paul describe human effort as compared to the power of God?
4. According to this passage, why is it so important to rely on the power of the Spirit? (See especially 2:5.)
Think about the way you interact with the people around you. Can you say along with Paul, “My speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:4–5)? Why, or why not?