26 Nov Become Fools So That You May Become Wise
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Preacher Huijun - 26 November 2022
Weekend Devotion: Become Fools So That You May Become Wise
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No one likes to be considered foolish. On the contrary, people use all kinds of ways to prove that they are wise. However, some believers of Christ can even be willing to be viewed as fools, for the sake of the gospel. Just as Paul said in (1 Co 4:9-10), “For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored!”
Foolish yet think they are wise.
In the scriptures just now, Paul was not actually praising the Corinthian believers for having any true wisdom. He was merely being sarcastic in telling them that they were only wise in their own eyes. And because of that, they dishonored the apostles, especially after seeing how the apostles suffered while following the Lord. To suffer seemed like a foolish thing, even if it is for the sake of Christ.
At that time, Corinth was a thriving and prosperous place, yet it was also greatly influenced by secular culture. As a result, the Christians there were also more or less shaped by the worldly culture and ideologies. However, what the world considers as wise is different from how God views wisdom. The wisdom of the world makes people think that as long as their lives on earth are exciting, comfortable, successful, etc., then it is considered a good life. Yet, the wisdom of the world does not make people care about their eternal destiny. Now, if a person does not pause to consider his fate after this life ends, is that really wise? Even if we do not like to think about death, will not thinking about it prevent it from happening?
(1 Co 3:18-20) solemnly reminds us: Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” Indeed, the wise will be caught in their craftiness. Some people think that it is only wise and most practical to focus on having fun in this life, doing what they like, accumulating wealth, building their families and careers, etc. They may see spiritual stuff as impractical and unrelatable to their present living. They also don’t like to think about solemn topics such as the reality of death, so they distract themselves with many other things. But they do not realise that when they keep putting off thinking about spiritual matters and their destiny after death, they may unknowingly fall into eternal destruction.
Wise but being considered as fools.
Paul ever said that the gospel is foolishness in the eyes of the world. (1 Co 1:18-19, 21) For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” … For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
The message of the cross sounds foolish because it contradicts the wisdom of the world. The cross depicts a shameful, helpless God who seemed incapable of even saving Himself nor escape the power of death. This is not the picture the wise of the world have of a God and Savior. The wise of the world expects that God is one who can prevent Himself from even ending up on the cross and who can escape all sufferings. But they fail to see how Christ resurrected after dying and conquered death.
Likewise, those who believe and preach the gospel are often viewed as foolish by those who do not believe. Especially when people see Christians face persecutions, suffering, trials, etc., for the sake of the gospel, they will find Christians very foolish. They cannot comprehend why believers can sacrifice certain earthly blessings and even endure hardships for the Lord. However, the truth is, those who believe in the Lord have true wisdom. They may not be very rich or accomplished on earth, but their eternal life received through Christ is most precious. They choose to live according to the words of the Bible and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, even though their beliefs and ways of living may not always be popular with people of the world. To the wise of the world, the Bible may only be an insignificant book, and they do not understand why Christians would bother to obey the words of an invisible God. Yet, those who believe in the Lord will hold His words – the Bible, in highest regard and be careful to obey what it says, because it is able to make people wise for salvation (2 Ti 3:15). Although believers may be viewed as fools on earth, they are pleasing to God, and will eventually receive the eternal glory given by God.
Are you willing to be fools for Christ?
Today as we follow Christ, we may be considered as fools by people around us too. But when we look at the example of Paul, we will realise that we may not be “foolish” enough for the sake of Christ yet. Paul had professed that: “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” (Php 3:7-8) For this reason, Paul saw it worthwhile to endure suffering for Christ.
How about us? Can we boldly preach the gospel of Christ and live out God’s word, or are we afraid of being seen as fools and thus start to compromise with the world, hide the gospel instead of spreading it, or twist the gospel to suit the world’s appetite and attract people to God? The Bible says, “you should become “fools” so that you may become wise” (1 Co 3:18). Yes, the wise of the world may think we are fools, but even so, we are still “fools with eternal life”, “fools loved by God”, “fools with peace and joy in the Lord”. This is way better than “the wise who are considered fools in God’s eyes and who will be destroyed by God”.
Finally, I would like to use a quote from Jim Elliot to conclude. He had famously said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Indeed, it is fine if people in the world see us as fools, but it is important that we be wise in the eyes of God, to fear and obey Him, and to spread the good news of His salvation. Blessed indeed is such a person!