Deplorable inferiors ∙
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. – 1 Corinthians 1:27-28
1 Corinthians 1:18-28
18 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.
19 As the Scriptures say, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”
20 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.
25 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.
26 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you.
27 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.
28 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.
A strong, constant, repeated message bombards us daily that we are inferior and do not measure up. This triggers anxiety, fear, frustration, and an overwhelming sense of dread and inadequacy. College and Teen Suicide Statistics from 2018 document a horrific trend.
According to the American College Health Association (ACHA), the suicide rate among young adults ages 15-24 has increased by over 200% since the 1950s. Suicide is currently the second most common cause of death among college students. There are over 1100 suicides in college every year.
Approximately 5% of students in our four-year colleges have seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year. Nearly half of them did not tell anyone.
Vast numbers consider themselves deplorable inferiors. They check out and end it all when circumstances and stress become overwhelming.
We often think that the Father loves us in spite of what we are. Instead, the Father has chosen to love us just as we are. He has chosen to love us because we are deplorable inferiors.
Pause for a moment, and let that sink in. The Father is very different than we might expect. He has chosen the weak, the ordinary, the despised, the inconsequential people of this world to love. More than that, He has chosen to use us in His service, accomplish His purpose, and draw attention to Himself.
2 Corinthians 4:7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
REFLECT & PRAY
Despite our accomplishments and success, we are plagued with self-doubt – some more than others.
Father I often find myself lacking when I critically examine myself. But I am absolutely convinced that You love me just as I am. Encourage me to place my complete confidence in You and allow Your power to work in and through me.
Our value and worth are not determined by who we are and what we do – our value and worth or determined by Who values us. The most accurate assessment of our worth comes from looking into the eyes of the One who loved us enough to die in our place (Stanley).
Knowing and comprehending the Father’s love for us provides our significance. When we stand on the foundation of His loyal love and kindness for us, we can successfully stand against the barrage of feelings of unworthiness and failure. Rather than berating ourselves and feeling guilt and shame for our shortcomings, the Father strengthens us from within so that we may overcome them.
The lost world admires birth and social status, material success, power, and recognition. The Father chose the foolish, the weak, the low-born, and the despised. He has chosen the “are nots.” The “are nots” consist of those who are disdained and contemptuous and are considered worthless and despicable. Some might say, “a bucket of deplorables.”
The message and miracle of the Father’s grace in the Lord Jesus Christ utterly confound the high and mighty people of this world. The wise of this world cannot understand how the Father changes sinners into saints . . . God’s “foolishness” confounds the wise; God’s “weakness” confounds the mighty!
The annals of church history are filled with the accounts of great sinners whose lives were transformed by the power of the Gospel (Wiersbe).
Circa 178 A.D., Celsus wrote one of the most bitter attacks upon Christianity that was ever written.
“It was precisely this appeal of Christianity to the ordinary people that he ridiculed. He declared that the Christian point of view was: ‘Let no cultured person draw near, none wise, none sensible; for all that kind of thing we count evil; but if any man is ignorant, if any is wanting in sense and culture if any is a fool let him come boldly.’”
“Of the Christians, he wrote: ‘We see them in their own houses, wool-dressers, cobblers, and fullers [people who clean clothes], the most uneducated and vulgar persons.’ He said that the Christians were ‘like a swarm of bats – or ants creeping out of their nests – or frogs holding a symposium around a swamp – or worms in conventicle in a corner of mud.’”
“It was precisely this that was the glory of Christianity. . . Christianity made people who were things into real men and women; more, into sons and daughters of God. It gave self-respect to those who had no respect; it gave eternal life to those who had no life; it told them that, even if they did not matter to others, they still mattered intensely to God. It told people who were worthless in the eyes of the world that, in the eyes of God, they were worth the death of his only Son. Christianity was, and still is, the most uplifting thing in the whole universe” (Barclay).
What do you prefer? To experience the Father’s love as a “deplorable inferior” or to be wise and powerful in the eyes of the world without it.
© Dr. H 2022