My conversation and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not be based on human wisdom but on the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 NET Bible
God has revealed these to us by the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the things of a man except the man’s spirit within him? So too, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things that are freely given to us by God. And we speak about these things, not with words taught us by human wisdom, but with those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. The unbeliever does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him. And he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The one who is spiritual discerns all things, yet he himself is understood by no one. 1 Corinthians 2:10 -15 NET Bible
As Paul began this argument against placing our faith in worldly wisdom and reasoning, he made a solid case for the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit in the enlivened spirits of the Corinthian believers. He reminded them that their faith was launched, not by an elaborate mental computation, but by the Holy Spirit’s unseen power.
In the Western world, we have long favored the ways of Greek philosophers – placing high value on reason and stacking up facts – to inform ourselves before going forward with important life decisions. Before I gave my life to Jesus, I had a Sunday School amount of knowledge about who Jesus was. I also spent considerable time trying to read the Bible – especially portions of the Old Testament – but found my attempts to understand the text to resemble a bicycle ride through deep mud.
About this time, my Washington D.C. landlady invited a Holy Spirit filled evangelist into her home. He was sent by God to cut through my intellectual morass. After an hour of conversation and questions about the evangelist’s life, he got up to leave the house. Before he walked out the door he suggested I ask Jesus into my life. He then invited me to kneel and repeat a prayer after him.
When we got to the words of the prayer where I was to confess that I was a sinner and acknowledge that Jesus died for those sins, I recall distinctly objecting to those words. But I repeated them anyway. Then, without really understanding what was involved, I asked Jesus to come into my life and be my Lord. At that moment an image of Jesus on the cross flashed into my mind. My second impression was that Jesus had been raised from the dead and was still alive. Thirdly, I sensed Jesus was tangibly with me in that room.
As I opened my Bible the next day, the deep mud had vanished and the scriptures became amazingly clear.
My answer to the question “Could God be foolish for using His Spirit?” is an obvious “NO!” I could have spent decades trying to understand the amazing work of Jesus on the cross – misinterpreting his act as one of martyrdom – slogging through scripture with my limited intellect and ultimately casting the Bible aside as useless. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit’s power cut through my intellectual objections in an instant.
As Western Christians we are constantly offered ‘self help’ and ‘you can be anything you want to be’ philosophies. Keeping our default setting on the power of the Holy Spirit in order to “live in the way of Jesus with the heart of Jesus” is a challenge. Are you starting today with a long list of ways to figure out your next steps? Stop and ask the Holy Spirit to recalibrate your heart and guide you through today’s decisions.