Brad and I call our little family “Team Pete”.
And Team Pete has dreams. Big. Fat. Hairy. Dreams. They’re wild. Beyond our imaginations. Beyond our money. Beyond our cultural boundaries. Beyond our faith. Beyond our temptations. Beyond our work ethics.
Beyond our power.
For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (NETBible, 1 Corinthians 1:18, emphasis mine)
What if I believed this?
Let me explain. I’m smart. Yeah, I said it. I’m no genius, but I have quick wits and hard work in me – and that can translate into a lot. Not only am I smart, I am decent at arguing (the debate kind, not the kind you were thinking of – but I’m good at that, too, rest assured).
Add this to a passion for the lost. What do you get? Someone who thinks, “If I just explain it right, they’ll get it!” Or, “I wonder if this evangelism tool is THE ONE.” You know, the one that will bring 50% of the people I use it on to Christ. [I have given up on evangelism “tools” because they work just as good as what I already do. Which isn’t saying much.]
As an immature believer, this dangerous combination yielded ugly results. I had the privilege of going to a ‘Women in Mathematics’ conference while I was in college. At dinner one night, somehow we started talking about God or Jesus (my big fat mouth probably brought it up). One of the women said something to the effect of, “But I don’t believe in Jesus.”
To which I put on my best I-am-obviously-smarter-than-you countenance and replied, “Believe WHAT about Jesus?” My words were snarly; my eyes were attacking; my heart was ugly.
Because obviously, if we would just define all of the parameters and look at the logic, we would get to Jesus, right?
I wish. Actually, no I don’t. I’d really muck it up. Obviously.
The above passage is bookended by verses that remind me that my smarts will do nothing to save souls.
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel – and not with clever speech, so that the cross of Christ would not become useless. (verse 17)
For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will thwart the cleverness of the intelligent.” (verse 19)
And do you see that this is intentional? If intellect alone won souls to Christ, what in the world did Jesus have to be crucified for? What would the purpose of the Holy Spirit be? Why would we need God when we have ourselves?
It’s all. About. HIM. The Man. The GOD-Man. Jesus.
And Team Pete dreams that everyone we know and come in contact with will trust in the GOD-Man for their everything. For EVERYTHING. He is everything. Everything is for Him, from Him, to Him.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation, for all things in heaven and on earth were created by him – all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, whether principalities or powers – all things were created through him and for him.
He himself is before all things and all things are held together in him.
He is the head of the body, the church, as well as the beginning, the firstborn from among the dead, so that he himself may become first in all things.
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in the Son and through him to reconcile all things to himself by making peace through the blood of his cross – through him, whether things on earth or things in heaven. (Colossians 1:15–20, NETBible)
And we can’t do it. Only God can. Only His power.
All we can do is get on our faces before the Almighty and offer our lives to His purposes. To His glory.
Almighty, You are worth it all. You are worth more than I can imagine. Give me faith beyond myself. Help me believe in Your power. Let me offer myself as a living sacrifice and trust Your work. Increase my tiny faith.