“..so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God….” (1 Thessalonians 2:4).
What pleases man is generally visible on the outside; what pleases God is visible only to Him.
Men think that the way to show their devotion to Christ is to get into Christian service, whereas this is often the path to pride of ministry and self-importance.
True discipleship to Christ is absolute devotion to the person of Jesus Christ, not dedication to a religious creed or denominational doctrine. In these dark days, religious belief – Christianity – has been substituted for absolute surrender to the Lordship of Christ and a personal commitment to hear and obey in all things. Religious belief allows us to moderate Christ’s demands for complete subjection and, instead, offer Him professions of faith through the embrace of “Causes”.
To the Jews, Jesus Christ is a stumbling block; to the Greeks, that is, the Western world, He is foolishness. The Greek word translated as “foolishness” is moria, and means intellectually weak or irrational foolishness; in other words, it is against the self-esteem to believe the whole kit and caboodle. This is the pride of the flesh rising up against the revelation of God in Christ and leads nowhere, for did not Christ say; “And whoever will exalt himself will be made humble; and whoever will humble himself will be lifted up” (Matthew 23:12).
“Lifted up”, in Greek, is the same word that Jesus used when He told Nicodemus that, just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness so, too, would the Son of Man be lifted up (John 3:14). Thus, it describes the resurrection of Christ, something that those who humble themselves will also experience.
The notion of humbling oneself is too humiliating for many – the self dies hard – and as a substitute we offer “works” in the name of Jesus. This not only avoids the offence of humiliation, but brings with it some self-gratification and uplifting exaltation.
It leads nowhere though, except to exhaustion, frustration and despair.