COLLINS COLUMN: Courage Through the Holy Spirit

Published 9:00 am Thursday, July 11, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Getting the smartest person in the room on your team may not be your best strategy. There is certainly a place for smart people in every organization, and having lots of knowledge can obviously be helpful. Knowing how to apply your knowledge can lead to good decision making. But being the smartest person in the room can also have its setbacks.

I am rarely, if ever, the smartest person in the room. While I like my very smart friends and have hired many smart people, that doesn’t guarantee success. In fact, sometimes having lots of smart people in the room can prove to be difficult.

When Jesus picked his disciples, it doesn’t appear that he was going after the smartest people in the room. Adding Paul to the list of apostles added some intellectual firepower, but in Paul’s epistles he made it clear that the wisdom of man is not all that it is cracked up to be. In fact, Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2 that he didn’t come to Corinth proclaiming wisdom with lofty speeches, though he was probably capable of doing so. He came with a simple and clear testimony about Jesus Christ and his crucifixion.

Paul went even further in describing his position: “And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

I can relate to Paul’s confession. I cannot tell you the number of times I have entered a room, an assignment, started a job, or began to share the gospel and felt exactly like Paul described: weak, fearful, knees knocking, and like my words sounded flimsy. But I can also tell you story after story of how God received my weakness and by the power of the Holy Spirit working in the moment, changed everything. In those moments, it was clearly not me who changed anything. It was God’s Spirit who moved and changed minds, convicted hearts, and in some way advanced the gospel.

It is important to read scripture and to study God’s word. But as we do, we must remember that without the Holy Spirit at work in us we might end up more like the scribes and the Pharisees and less like Paul and the other early Christians who saw the gospel spread and transform lives daily. Paul acknowledged that the natural person does not accept the things of God. But Paul also stated that as believers we have received the Holy Spirit, who can bring conviction of sin, which leads to the transformation of minds and hearts.

Surely we need Christ-followers to study and learn all that we can across the span of academic disciplines, and we need competent practitioners in every field. But if we want to see real change in our communities and throughout the world, then those of us who profess faith in Jesus must acknowledge our weakness and allow the Holy Spirit to move in and through us. Then, and only then, will we see fractured churches heal, find unity in Christ, and see the power of the gospel change the world.

Father, today we confess that all too often we seek to know more and to do more, rather than to surrender more to you. So today we acknowledge our weaknesses, and we offer ourselves to you. Holy Spirit, transform our hearts and minds today, that we might be used for your purposes in every place we go. In Jesus’ name, amen.