Daily reading: 10 January
The fruit of the spirit.
Something to read
For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’ Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
- 1 Corinthians 1:18–20, from full reading 1 Corinthians 1:18-31.
Something to think about
Our King is the one who chooses the foolish in the world; the weak, the low, the despised, the things that are not, because he does not want us to boast in ourselves, or in our achievements, but in His. He is the one who does this, not out of perversity or a desire for novelty, or for any particular goal socially, but because he sees all people alike, and treasures humility, and has compassion upon suffering.
Some things valued by the world, like good looks and physical strength, simply have no value in Heaven. Other things that help us to get on the world, like ambition, determination and skill, have little inherent spiritual value, and can too easily be misleading or harmful. Others which can help in the world, like unscrupulousness, pride and deviousness, are almost always actively evil.
Too often and too easily, it is these desires of the flesh which lead on in the world, and these we should treat with suspicion, refusing to let them dominate us and our lives and thinking, relinquishing if necessary those trappings of success if the price of them is to give up the fruit of the Spirit, as St Paul calls those things which the Lord loves: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22–23)
These are not impressive, not often valued by the ambitious or successful, and often hamper worldly glory and fame. We can do this with confidence, knowing that our King always sees the unseen things within us, and that He treasures them; by nurturing them for His sake, we worship Him.
Something to do
At this start of the year, take time to do a values audit. Reflect or write down what you consider your values to be. Consider an example of how you lived out those values recently. Plan for how you might prioritise or practice these values in 2021.
Something to pray
Let us therefore treasure the wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption of God. Let us pray that we be not intimidated or impressed or distracted by the world, but remain confident in His choice of us, and that He has a good purpose for us, never minding what the world thinks of us. Let us be glad to be foolish in the eyes of the world, knowing the wisdom of God.
Today’s reading was provided by the Reverend Jeremy Bevan, a minister of the Church in Wales. ('Something to do' provided by Christian Aid.)
Published on 10 January 2021