A Little bit of Weakness, Fear and Trembling 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

by Samantha Chambo

I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. (1 Cor. 2:3)

I know we already read these verses in the previous devotion, but verse 3 grabbed my attention and I just had to revisit it. I was intrigued by the fact that the great apostle Paul, first century missionary and the first great theologian of the Christian church, suffered from weakness, fear and trembling at some point in his life

Commentators have different opinions as to what Paul meant in this verse. Some says it was because of physical problems, others say he did not feel confident in his public speaking abilities, that he felt intimidated because Corinth was such a great metropolitan Roman city, and that he was just very aware of the great responsibility of communicating the truth of Jesus Christ to those God loves. What ever his reasons, I can relate to all of the above reasons.

I believe a sense of inadequacy for the mission of Christ can be very beneficial for Christian workers, providing we don’t allow it to cripple us in our ministry. Tara Mohr in her book Playing Big describes two kinds of fear: pachad, which is “the fear of the phantom, the fear whose object is imagined.”[1] And Yirah “It is the feeling that overcomes us when we inhabit a larger space than we are used to. The feeling we experience when we suddenly come into possession of considerably more energy than we had before. It is what we feel in the presence of the divine.”[2] Feeling Yirah means we are involved in something much bigger then ourselves or even that we are at the verge of something great. We do not have to back away from this fear, because it can propel us into even greater things for God.

The key for Paul was to take his focus of his own weakness, fear and trembling and to fix it on Jesus Christ, the wisdom and power of God. He accomplished all that was necessary “with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power” (1 Cor. 2:4).

Think about it

Can you recall instances from your past where you felt either pachad or yirah? How did you respond to it?

For today

Be curious about your fear. Think about it and journal about it. What is Christ showing you?

Prayer

Father, help me to be strong and courageous, because I know you are with me wherever I go (Joshua 1:9). Amen.

[1] Tara Mohr, Playing Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message, 2014, 65.

[2] Mohr, Playing Big, 66.

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