Advent Reflection: “This Foolish Plan of God”

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Each week of Advent, I’ll be posting two reflections on a different name of Jesus as given in Isaiah 9:6. This week’s name is “Counselor.” 

Guest writer: Abraham Aldama

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6.

READ

1 Corinthians 1:18-31

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. As the Scriptures say,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise
and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”

So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.

But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.

Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.

God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.”

REFLECT & PRAY

The message of the gospel makes no sense. Think about it! Jesus Christ, who is God himself, took human form so he could die in our stead to give us life and reestablish the communion He once had with us. In human terms that is absolute madness! Why would the Almighty God want a relationship with us mortals? Why would He want to be in communion with sinners?

It’s because He cannot help but love us. He cannot deny his essence. He is love (1 John 4:8). Why is love His essence? I do not know.

The message of the cross is not for those for whom everything has to make sense. It is not for those who think they have it all figured out and think that they are in control of their lives. It is not for those who trust in their own strength, social status, wealth, education, and connections more than they trust God. It is not for those who do not love Jesus in return.

Jesus came for the poor, the sick, and the lame to show that it is not our earthly belongings or status that matter. He came for those whose power, accomplishments, and money are garbage compared to their desire to know Jesus (Philippians 3:8). I am not saying that success, fame, and wealth are bad in and of themselves. Paul himself was pretty successful in human terms before his calling. However, when we truly want to have a deep, intimate relationship with Jesus because we love Him, our dependence on other things will diminish to the point where they stop mattering at all. We will have nothing left to boast about but about Jesus.

In your prayer time today, ask God to examine your heart and show you if you have been depending on and boasting about things that are not Him. Do you depend on your own job? Your connections? Your family? Maybe even your ministry? Do you boast about your accomplishments? About your own righteousness?

On the contrary, do you feel unworthy because of your sins and failures? Do not despair but rejoice. The Lord has come for you!

RESPOND

Ask Jesus to be your counselor, your guide through life. Ask, as the worship song* goes, that His voice may be louder and clearer than all the others. If you hear Him speaking (however this might come for you), answer with Samuel’s words, “Speak, for your servant is listening,” and follow His voice.

Ask Jesus to increase your dependence on Him. Ask Jesus to be your wisdom: your righteousness, your holiness, and your redemption.

Finally, be mindful of when you are tempted to boast about your belongings, your accomplishments, your skills, your righteousness, or anything other than Jesus. Ask Him to help you overcome those temptations when you feel that they are creeping up.

 

*Full Attention, Jeremy Riddle

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