“For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2
I often struggle with wanting to be more mature in specific areas of my Christian walk. I will focus on one thing and think about it constantly for a few weeks and maybe read a book and some articles on it and if I’m really determined I’ll pray for that area a lot. I will find that I do a little better in that area or at least I can pretend well but inevitably my flesh will kick in sooner than later and I find myself filled with discouragement that I am so far in my spiritual maturity and wonder if I will ever be a child of God that grows and pleases Him.
Take for example patience with disciplining my children. I will be convicted about my lack of patience and start praying for God to make me more patient and read some blogs about discipline and maybe start a book or two on discipline and each opportunity I will focus and try really hard to be more patient. I’ll do better for a couple days (or sometimes just a few hours depending on what the day brings!) but inevitably I begin to fail. I become impatient one or two times which opens the floodgates and before I know it I am more impatient than I’ve ever been with the kids! I then feel so discouraged and begin thinking of all the areas I’m failing and how in this world can I ever be a pleasing Christian to God and how will I ever grow and mature in my walk when I have so much to work on!!
What Paul writes here in 1 Corinthians is so encouraging and convicting. “I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” If I keep my focus on Christ and His crucifixion and solely focus my time and energy and study on Him then I will naturally become more like Him. We can only resemble God’s character when we study it and know it. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Proverbs 1:7a. Not the fear of impatience is the beginning of knowledge or the fear of unkindness or unfaithfulness, etc. But the fear of the Lord.
And there is no disappointment in the knowledge of God. No days of discouragement. The more I learn about Him and what His death on the cross means for me the more encouraged I am and I begin to naturally live out the reality. I need to stop trying so hard to live holy because it’s not my strength or resolve that makes me holy anyways it’s Jesus’ death on the cross and His blood that makes me holy. Instead of feeling like this Christian walk is so hard and I’m never going to get anywhere I need to be encouraged that that’s never what it’s been about. If I focus my eyes on Jesus “the author and perfecter of (my) faith” (Hebrews 12:2) and less on me and my strength and my capabilities and my growth then this walk will no longer be exhausting and filled with feelings of failure but instead will be joyful and victorious. Praise God for what He did on the cross!!
“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” 1 Corinthians 2: 1-4