1 Corinthians 1-2, Psalm 141
I started college when I was 16 years old and graduated Valedictorian of my undergraduate university, which was pharmacy school. I went on to medical school in Brooklyn and graduated among the top of my class with honors. I was doing well in residency scoring very high in all of the national standardized exams. Though not overtly prideful, I trusted in my knowledge and skills. It was during the end of medical school and the beginning of residency that I also began reading the Bible. When I began reading, I kept reading it to see if it seemed true to me. One day after doing a surgery, it hit me clearly just how ignorant I truly was compared to God. Though I was taught why to operate, where to cut and not cut, how and where to suture, etc. The truth was if not for God, my little skills would never be enough to sustain this person's life. I can open the human body and bring structures together to enable healing, but God is the healer. God is the one who masterfully brings damaged muscle, tissue, blood vessel, nerve fibers, skin, etc back together and creates it new. No human does that. Whenever we trust in our own strength and don't realize just how foolish we are in comparison to God, we are unusable. Not surprisingly, once I began to see myself in proper relation to Him and His Word, Scripture was literally jumping off the pages into my heart. God can't fill a vessel that is full of himself. We can only be used when we empty ourselves of everything that fills ourselves with things apart from Him. Paul when describing his merits prior to knowing Christ in Philippians 3:4-11, writes in verse 8, "Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ".
Paul illustrates this point so clearly in 1 Corinthians 1:25-29, "Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in his presence." In Jeremiah 9:23-24, it says, "Thus says the Lord: Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight," says the Lord." Notice in 1 Corinthians 2:3-5, though Paul was highly intelligent, he writes, "I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of the power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God."
So we must all ask ourselves what we trust in and how we view the gifts that God has given us. Sadly, the overwhelming number of physicians that I know do not believe in nor put their trust in God. Trusting too much on themselves they cannot depend on Him, the true source of strength. Though the world likes to elevate the beautiful, the strong, the intelligent, the powerful, etc, all these gifts are nothing if not used for God. In fact if anyone relies on these gifts, they wind up being stumbling blocks rather than gifts. Pride blinds everyone. So while those in the world seek to become famous, be noticed, to rise to a position which will be honored by all, this is not the vessel that can be used by God. Whatever we have been given by God in order to serve Him, may we all empty ourselves of all that holds us back and keep our eyes and our focus on Jesus, so that we all use our gifts for His glory.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: