Reading: 1st Corinthians 2:11-18
Verse 2: “What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.”
As Paul continues to speak about wisdom he differentiates between the wisdom of the world and the wisdom of God. Paul focuses in on the source of our wisdom. Some have received “the spirit of the world” – they think, make decisions, and act according to the wisdom or ways of the world. Pride, greed, lust, power, control – these things drive their lives. In contrast, some have received “the Spirit who is from God.” Those who proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior receive the gift of the Holy Spirit into their hearts. Peace, joy, love, hope, service, humility – these things drive their lives.
Those with the spirit of the world cannot understand the things and ways of God. They are not of the Spirit of God so God’s ways seem foolish. They cannot understand the ways of God or the ways that followers of Christ live. Those with the Holy Spirit are connected to God. The indwelling presence of God brings understanding around the will and ways of God. These can discern all that God offers because of the Spirit’s presence. As Paul writes, “We have the mind of Christ.”
Because we are in fact human – flesh and blood – we also understand the ways of the world and are, at times, drawn towards the things that the world values. The fleshy part of us can want control or power or wealth… at times. It is precisely in these moments that we need support, encouragement, and strength to resist the temptation that is pulling at us. Here the Spirit, the mind of Christ, whispers into our hearts. Here the community of faith steps us and speaks truth into our lives. Connected through Christ we find the power and the ability to live faithfully day by day in this world. Thanks be to God.
Prayer: Lord God, thank you for the gifts of Spirit and community. Alone I would be a slave to the world. With these gifts I stand a chance. Please continue to make self less so that you can be more. Amen.