“Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached?
If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command.”
1 Corinthians 14: 36-37
Ah, rhetorical questions. Paul may employ sarcasm, but he is not fooling around and proposing nice theories about corporate life. What he had to say wasn’t personal observation and suggestion; it was God given instruction and vital to the life of the Corinthian Church.
What was true for the church then, is true today. We believers can become enamored with our own spirituality and become self-satisfied that we have THE truth. It’s easy to slide into thinking that it’s all because we are doing something new, something right. We may start out with the best of intentions—to serve God, but then we get focused on what we are doing and lose sight of the marvelous grace that accomplishes God’s will. It’s sort of like learning to dance; we get excited when we get the steps right, then look down at our feet to marvel at what’s happening, only to misstep. The solution is to keep our eyes trained on our lead, trust in the hand that guides us and not give up the dance when our feet stumble.
Isaiah had a similar message to God’s people. Not once did God ever say, “Look to your own intelligence, to your own ability to get it right.” No, it was quite the opposite:
“Listen to me, my people; hear me, my nation; the law will go out from me; my justice will become a light to the nations, My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way and my arm will bring justice to the nations. The islands will look to me and wait in hope for my arm…my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail.” Isaiah 51:4-6
What a relief. It’s by grace that I have been saved and by grace that God’s work will be completed in me. It’s my job to keep my eyes on Him. The world may fall down around me, but His arm will save me.