Thursday, August 11, 2011
The Wisdom of a Fool
Let no one deceive himself.
If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age,
let him become a fool that he may become wise.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.
For it is written, "He catches the wise in their own craftiness";
and again, "The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.
Therefore let no one boast in men. 1 Corinthians 3:18-21
How do we become a fool so that we may become wise?
You would be amazed at the conversations I get into online with professing Christians who are defending Islam, evolution, abortion, or the poor Palestinians. Don't get me wrong! I am concerned for all men ... but only the saving grace of Jesus Christ can deliver anyone spiritually, and these Christians seem unconcerned in this regard. Their focus is on being right. The logic is absurd, but more discouraging was that these “Christians” never seem to look to God’s Word for knowledge, wisdom, or understanding. For them the teachings of men have become their bible; and quite often, to a large degree; the teachings of atheists.
Here is a statement by a Christian defender of Islam, and who is adamantly anti-Israel. “We are all right in our own eyes. Everyone thinks they are right and are trying to proselytize the world so that they can be right.” There are clearly several false statements here, but the basic problem this person has is that she is following her logic, feelings, and the teachings of men rather than the Word of God. In fact beyond the teachings of the love of Christ, she has to a large degree rejected the rest of the Bible.
This person questioned my support of, and is strongly against Israel. I explained my support as follows: “I do not support Israel because I agree with what Israel does; or does not do. I support Israel because I know what God's Word says about the subject. Those who support Israel will be blessed ... those who stand against Israel will be destroyed. The Jews are God's chosen people. More than fifty percent of Israelis are atheists or agnostics at this time. Certainly I disagree with them there, and on their conclusions regarding Jesus Christ. For reasons which are sometimes hard for me to understand, God loves the Jewish people, above all others. It is not a discussion about me and Israel; but rather God's plan for Israel; and God's plan for you and me. As a Christian, I would not be wise to choose to follow God, and then choose sides against Israel. When we chose to follow Jesus Christ, we are one with Israel from that point on ... eternally, whether Israel, or you, or I, realize it ... or not.”
In addition to 1 Corinthians 3:18-21: here is a small part of my response: “God's Word is NEVER wrong. Your positions are the opposite of Christ's teachings. The idea that we are all right in our own eyes is foolishness. Nothing could be further from the Truth. The reason we have God’s Truth is so that we can measure our conclusions against the truth. Our personal opinions logic and beliefs apart from God's word are only diversions that confuse the Truth. We are told to humble ourselves to God's Word. Not compare our opinions with His Truth and then reject His Words and follow our feelings and logic. Other religions and atheists are free to do that ... but not true Christians. I have no grand desire to be right ... but only to know the Truth of God’s Word, and live by the Truth.”
My friend does make a good point though. Most seekers have a desire to be wise and to be seen by others as a person of wisdom. This verse above was one of the first verses that caught my attention when I first read the Bible. I was on a quest to know God’s wisdom, and had listed hundreds of wisdom verses. This verse left me meditating for days on the scriptures asking the same question: “how do I become a fool so that I may become wise? From a human perspective, this verse made no common sense to me. I was confused as to how foolishness could make me wise.
But that is exactly the point. God revealed to me during my meditations that I had a habit of underlining and memorizing the verses that made sense to me. But God made it clear that His wisdom was to be found not only in the verses that measured up to my existing understanding; but rather deeper spiritual wisdom was to be found in the verses that I was reading through. All of God’s Word is Truth, and Jesus told us; “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you. John 16:12-15
Question: If we are not meditating on God’s Word and listening to the Holy Spirit, how will He guide us into all Truth?
My friend above says “out with the Old Testament and in with the new, and then disregards much of the new as well. She believes Christianity is only about practicing the love of Christ. She doesn’t need church or the Bible to challenge her views. Well, wait a minute … aren’t we called to be Bereans by the Apostle Paul? Are we not called to be transformed by the renewing of our minds and to not be conformed to the teachings of the world? How can we do that without challenging and judging our views? As you can imagine, I am butting heads with one misguided Christian after another, week after week. My contention is that they are sincere but sincerely wrong.
Back to the question about becoming foolish to become wise … isn’t this what, being renewed and transformed is all about? As we are trained to accept the teachings of men from childhood, we are conformed to the world. For myself, that meant I had spent over thirty years being programmed with the thinking of the world. Much of this thinking was consistent with God’s Word, but most was not. My primary focus was success and money. As an example, my first trainer at work told me he just followed the Golden Rule “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” when selling customers real estate. I thought this made sense so I followed this rule. I had no idea these were the Words of Christ at the time. Another salesman jokingly told me that he just followed the “businessman’s golden rule” … “he who has the gold makes the rules.” Maybe this is a wise saying from a human perspective, but it is foolishness when compared to God’s Word which says: “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because "All (men) are like grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the Lord endures forever."
1 Peter 1:22-25
For over thirty years as a Bible believing Christian, I have been testing and challenging and judging my beliefs; and the teachings of the world to see if they measure up to the Truth of God’s Word. When there is a conflict, I choose to follow the Word. God’s Word has never failed me. Unfortunately, I have failed God’s Word many times and suffered the consequences. Logic, feelings, political correctness and following the lead of others rather than God is a slippery slope that leads to all forms of evil and failure.
When we test our wisdom against God’s Word, we humble our established beliefs to God’s Word, accepting the Word as wisdom and rendering worldly wisdom as foolishness … thus we may become foolish from men's viewpoint, but we gain spiritual wisdom. Spiritual Wisdom is about humbling our personal beliefs to God’s Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
What does it mean to meditate on God’s Word? For me, that means to look deeply into the Truth from a number of viewpoints. First, pray that God will reveal His wisdom to you. Silently review the verse in your mind praying for God to reveal His Wisdom and Truth. Pray for application to the specific issues that are challenging you in your life. Pray that He will lead you to other verses that will make the truth clear. Study the specific Words in the Greek or Hebrew. You can search out supporting scriptures. You can memorize the verse and then meditate silently upon it. Review the teachings of others who have shown clear Biblical Wisdom. Make a list of the issues of the day, and ask the question: “What does God’s Word say on this issue? What are my opinions? How do my opinions differ from God’s Word? What changes does God want me to make in my thinking?
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2
God bless you my friends, Bob
Copyright: Robert West 2011