As I read Paul’s letters to the Corinthian church, I stop and ponder these words: “My preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Corinthians 2:4, my italics).
When I was a young minister, I sought the Lord for clear manifestations of his Spirit. I prayed, “Oh, God, fill me with the power of your Spirit and give me a convicting message. Demonstrate your power. Shake the house as you did at Pentecost, so that people run to the altar and fall in reverence before you.”
Yet, as I read Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, I find no such experiences. There was no one being “slain in the Spirit,” no mention of houses being shaken. Instead, we find Paul preaching about everyday concerns, such as carnality, strife, marriage, divorce, proper dress, giving, the care of widows, maintaining order in church services, etc.
By Paul’s own admission, he had no charisma. His voice wasn’t commanding and he confessed to trembling during his preaching: “I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling” (1 Corinthians 2:3). So, where was the demonstration of the Spirit and of power in Paul’s life?
Paul declared, in essence, “My life is a demonstration of what the Lord can do. He can take a person without charisma, without a commanding voice, indeed, the vilest of sinners, and do something powerful with him.” This was not pride speaking. Paul simply knew who he was in Christ. He knew his battles and struggles weren’t over, yet he also knew his life was a picture of what God can do with anyone who yields to him.
He explained, “I didn’t come to you with a strategy or the methods of men. I came to you with the mind of God, and I spoke a simple, direct message that went straight to your heart. When I taught on marriage, it moved you. When I spoke about giving, your hearts were stirred because you knew my words came from the Lord.”
Look around at society. People are sin-sick, stressed out, despairing, with many at their absolute limit, desperate for answers. They don’t want to hear philosophical arguments or advice from yet another self-help book. The only way this world will be touched is by standing face to face with a life that demonstrates Holy Ghost power.