1 Corinthians 1:26-31 ESV
“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’”
Not Wise by Human Standards
When I consider my calling, I can attest to the fact that this is absolutely true. I was always a slow reader. My reading comprehension level was low. I graduated high school with a 1.4 GPA (D-). I began college reading on a 4th grade level. I finally took a special reading class and I got up to 7th grade level. But there are still things I have difficulty comprehending, and I am still a very slow reader even at the age of almost 72 (in a few weeks).
I was abused by my father and emotionally neglected by my mother. I lacked much confidence except in the area of music. If something was too difficult for me to understand I didn’t bother with it. I didn’t understand politics at all so I just voted a straight party ticket according to the party my parents voted for. I had no motivation to learn anything too difficult.
Now, I did believe in Jesus at the age of around 7 years of age, but I was brought up reading the King James Bible, and to me it was like reading Shakespeare. So, I read my Bible but I didn’t get much out of it until our pastor recommended the NASB version, and then the Scriptures came alive to me. But even that version was a bit over my reading grade level.
Other than the Scriptures, I wasn’t really motivated to learn much else unless there was a practical reason to learn it. I tended to follow whatever I was taught in church, and I was taught to pledge allegiance (vow fidelity) to my government with hand over heart, and to sing patriotic songs, and to believe our nation were the “good guys” of the world.
A Calling to be like a Jeremiah
I knew early on, though, that God was calling me to be like a Jeremiah, not that I claim to be a prophet, I don’t, but that I knew the Lord was calling me to say whatever he gave me to say to whomever he gave me to say it and that I was not to be afraid of them fighting against me, for the Lord was with me and he would help me and he would give me the words to say.
But boy was that ever put to the test. As the Holy Spirit began to teach me biblical truths through his word, things that I would never be able to grasp in my own flesh, and as I began to share these things during group Bible studies, under the authority of the leaders, and only as given permission to speak, I began to face opposition and rejection and criticism.
Over my lifetime I have faced a lot of persecution and rejection and mistreatment because of my walk of faith and because of my stand on the truth of God’s word at a time when the truth was coming under fire and people were beginning to dilute the gospel to make it less offensive. And much of this mistreatment was totally unjust and uncalled for.
It would seem that every time I would step out in faith to obey the Lord that there was always someone there to “slam dunk” me like I was a basketball. And I would get disheartened and discouraged because some of these people were in positions of spiritual leadership over me. But I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I was submitting to the leadership. I did not speak unless I was called on to speak, but I just didn’t fit with their way of thinking.
So, sometimes I would retreat, and then the Lord would encourage me to get back in there and so I would only to get “slam dunked” again. And then I began to question God’s calling on my life, and I cried out to him frequently and would say to him, “God, why did you make me like this?” I wondered why God would gift me this way and then not provide a way for me to use the gifts he had given me, but I soon learned he was preparing me.
Back to School
At the age of 52 the Lord led me to go back to college and to take some business classes in order to get an entrepreneur certificate. I was concerned I would not even pass the entrance exam, but I did, by the grace of God. I began with just one class, an Accounting class. And boy did I struggle. If something was too difficult, my brain just automatically shut down.
So, as I tried learning Accounting I would literally sit on the floor with the textbook in front of me and just weep. “I can’t do this!” I would say. And then the Lord would encourage me that I could, and I had a few family members, too, who were encouraging me that I could. So, I gave it over to the Lord and I trusted him and he helped me to learn.
I continued to struggle the same way for the next few classes I took, crying, praying, saying “I can’t do this,” and then ultimately surrendering it to the Lord, and he again taught me what I needed to learn. And to make a long story short, after 4 years at this school (part-time) I finally got my entrepreneur certificate along with a 4.0 GPA (straight A’s). Glory to God!
Now, I am not telling this story to brag, but what I am saying is that I was not wise (smart) by human standards. I was not powerful or influential or well-liked (popular). I definitely was not of noble birth. We were dirt poor most of my growing up years. I was foolish in the eyes of the world. I was weak and low and despised in the world. But God still called me.
So, why did the Lord see to it that I learned well enough to get straight A’s? I believe it was to teach me that I could learn, for I had a mental block against learning most things other than the Scriptures. And why was this important? Because of what he called me to do I had to do a ton of reading of articles on a vast array of subjects that I knew nothing about and I would normally be terrified to even approach such things. But at college I learned that I could learn and that I didn’t need to fear things over my head.
But God Chose Me
So, the Lord called me, not because of my book smarts, and not because of my popularity, and not because I knew all the right things to say to all the right people, because I had none of that. He didn’t choose me because I had great biblical training or knowledge, either, for I didn’t. He took a woman who lacked confidence who was beaten down and thought she couldn’t learn much of anything and he chose her to do what she is now doing.
Seventeen years ago the Lord called me to this present ministry to write down what he teaches me from his Word each day and to put it on the internet. Now, it wasn’t daily until June of 2006, and it wasn’t even every day until December of that year, I think. And I had no prior experience in doing anything like this, but I trusted him, and I submitted to him, and I wrote what he gave me to write and I put it on the internet.
And I know that the Lord has been using me in the ways that this passage talks about, not because of my own abilities, but because of God’s calling, and only in his strength and wisdom. I don’t even know what I am going to write until I sit down to write and then he leads me in what to say. Sometimes I just stare at the computer and I say, “Lord, I have no clue where to begin,” and then the words just flow from the Spirit.
So, I know that all of this that is good is from God and not from myself. I know that better than anyone, for I know my own limitations. And this is why I always give glory to God because I didn’t do it, not in my flesh. I just yield to the Holy Spirit’s control and I write what I believe the Lord Jesus is leading me to write and then I put it on the internet and he takes these writings where he wants them to go, and I do know that they are going to people in many different nations throughout the world.
And I trust that the Lord is getting these to the people he wants to read them and that he will use them in the way that he intends. My job is just to listen to him and to write what I believe he is saying to me through his word and then all I do is post it on the internet. And that’s why God gets the glory when anyone is touched in any way by what he has me write.
By Jonathan Foreman
I give you my destiny
I’m giving you all of me
I want your symphony
Singing in all that I am
At the top of my lungs
I’m giving it my all
So, I lay my head back down
And I lift my hands and pray
To be only yours I pray
To be only yours I pray
To be only yours
I know now you’re my only hope
Caution: This link may contain ads
4 thoughts on “GOD CHOOSES NOT AS MAN CHOOSES”
It’s interesting to see some of the similarities that you have experienced, I also experienced. I failed grade three and had to repeat it. Somehow I had missed comprehending the basics of mathematics. But a kind teacher took me under her wing and I learned a lot in the following year. A few short years later, another kind teacher told me that I had disappointed her with the exam mark I had got in history and she let me know that she believed that I could do better. I took her at her word of encouragement and the next exam I got a 96, the second highest mark in the class. I learned that if I applied myself, I was capable of understanding a lot more than I thought I could. Later on, I also learned to comprehend by studying the KJV Bible. Cross referencing and following through with themes from Genesis to Revelation became a passion of mine. That ability served me well in the military, later on in life, and I excelled in all of the courses and training that I took. Time and time again I would think that there was no possible way I could become proficient in some aspect of Information Technology but God consistently proved me wrong. In my senior leadership training in the military there were 120 of us on the course. Only ten people out of that 120 obtained an average of over 95% and I was one of them. It wasn’t because I was any smarter, it was because I had learned how to apply what God had given me. I studied when others took a night off, I focused on my weaknesses more than my strengths.
You speak of not knowing what you are to write and asking God for direction. I know exactly what you mean because a lot of times I also do not have a clue. But I pray and God gives me a topic and then line by line it seems to come together and quite often I could easily say that I had no idea of what I was going to say. From seemingly out of the blue, words and sentences form in my mind. God’s grace and empowerment is amazing isn’t it?
I’ve also learned that most of us do have a story. I was adopted and had a pretty rough childhood. Beatings were frequent and my adopted mother took great pleasure in letting me know that no one had wanted me. When I left home and joined the military, I floundered for about 8 years, following the crowd and seeking self gratification. But for some reason I had always believed in God and one day, after having become quite dependent on alcohol, I sat on the doorstep of a barracks in Ottawa, Ontario and asked God, if He was real, to show Himself to me. The very next day, as I sat on that same doorstep, a young Christian Corporal, who ran a young peoples youth group on the base, sat down beside me and we started to talk. I decided to go to one of the get togethers and from there, God’s grace began to increasingly open my mind to His reality. Marriage and many years of failing followed, hot and cold and luke warm cycles, but always, God’s never ending grace.
I was reminded of all the grace that God has given me, over the years, this morning as I drove into work. I literally am a billboard for God’s grace. I used to need to understand and my studies were aimed at increasing my understanding. There is nothing wrong with that but I also came to the place where I learned that my path is not everyone’s path, and the lessons I have been taught, are not necessarily the lessons that all have to learn. You and I are the same, yet different and that is fine. You don’t have to become like me, nor I like you. What both of us have learned is that our source is God the Father, Jesus the Son and God’s Holy Spirit. I don’t have to understand the how’s, I just have to recognize the reality that I see working in you and I do.
The older that I get, the more that I have come to realize that, God’s grace and patience is the over riding reason for my faith and trust in Him. In spite of my deficiencies versus because of my strengths. And the greatest need that I have is to give that grace and patience to others, while keeping in step with God’s truth as revealed in God’s Holy Word. And no, that is not easy and I still fail.
You are of God’s flock Sue and we listen to the same shepherd. We all have strengths and weaknesses, sometimes to be lifted up ourselves and sometimes to lift up others. Different and yet the same, and when you stop to think about it, we should see that in all of God’s children. It was that way with the Apostles, so why would it not be likewise with us. The wonder of it all is that it does not end there. God’s Holy Spirit can and does empower us, when He so chooses, to glorify the Son. And then it is not of us but of Him and we both know the reality of that.
I think we all carry baggage, some more than others, because of what we have already individually endured. That baggage should fall to the wayside, over the years, and most times it does, but I don’t think always completely. We remember, we learn and we press forward, each in our own way, shaped increasingly not by our past but by what we have learned as we move forward. And for me, what I have learned and am still endeavouring to pass onto others, is the never ending grace and patience of God.
You are my dear sister in Christ. We belong to our shepherd and we both individually answer to Him. That is all I really need to know. You have my respect because you are in Christ and I must always be mindful of that. And you are a pretty darn good student of His Word, and that is not an attribute easily obtained.
Thank you for bringing this post of yours to my attention. I hope my response encourages you, as you so often encourage me.
Love in Christ
LikeLiked by 1 person
Bruce, thank you. I always appreciate your long responses because you are sharing your heart with me and that is good. God has made us all different, he has gifted us in all different ways, and we don’t all have the same exact body parts. Yes, we share common aspects of our Christian faith and practice, but the Scriptures teach that even though we all form one body that each body part is uniquely designed by God. And we are never to consider one body part as superior or inferior to another or to regard any body part as not needed, for we are all necessary.
I think what we have to guard against is putting others in a box predefined by us and by our personal ideas of how people should be or what they should look like or act like, especially if we are doing so by comparing them to ourselves. Now, I am not saying that we should not test the spirits, we should, but that traditional Christianity oftentimes defines the “body parts” by their own conceptions of what the body should look like, and they often reject those parts that don’t fit into their mold. But we can’t put God in a box other than we can know his character and we can test things that seem to be outside of his character.
And I think that this passage of Scripture here is letting us know that God is the one who assigns the body parts and that they aren’t all going to look just like what we have traditionally been taught are the body parts. God chooses those that humans reject. God chooses a shepherd boy to be king instead of someone with great stature. God doesn’t choose like humans choose. But that way we have no reason ever to be prideful because we know if it is God working through us, and it is not us, that God should be the one to get all the glory and praise. I always find this passage of Scripture encouraging (and also 1 Corinthians 12).
God bless you my brother in Christ.
I agree Sue, I’m thinking it took me a bit longer than normal to understand the implications of maintaining that cookie cutter mentality. Even now I still have to guard against it. Blessings!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you, Bruce.
LikeLiked by 1 person