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The Christian faith requires us to reject the wisdom of the world.
No one likes to be considered a fool. When someone tries to take us for a ride, we are inclined to ask: “Do you think I am stupid?” “Do you consider me to be a fool?”
Often, he does. Everybody thinks he or she is smarter and wiser than anybody else. That is why this is a world of lies and liars. We think we can pull the wool over the eyes of everyone else.
The truth of the matter is that we cannot. But that does not stop us. When we are on the receiving end, we are outraged. Our pride is hurt. We do not want anybody to consider us as fools. But then pride comes before a fall.
“Whom do you think you are fooling?” we ask with self-righteous indignation.
However, our faith requires us to be fools for Christ. It requires us to reject the wisdom of the world. Paul says: “The wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As it says in the book of Job, God uses man’s own brilliance to trap him; he stumbles over his own “wisdom” and falls.” (1 Corinthians 3:19).
For example, the wisdom of the world says if you have something and give it away, you have lost something. But the wisdom of God says: “Is it more blessed to give than to receive?” (Acts 20:35).
When told that Jesus has risen from the dead, Thomas says: “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25).
For him, seeing is believing according to the wisdom of the world
. But Jesus says: “
Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29).
Paul heightens this tomfoolery of faith. He says: “We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
To be wise in Christ, we must become fools. To realise the gospel, we must become fools. The gospel itself is about the foolishness of God. That is why many will not accept it.
According to the gospel, the God who created the heavens and the earth became a man. He came through the womb of a woman. He sucked on a woman’s breast. He crawled on the ground and learnt to walk and to talk. He grew in stature and in wisdom.
Jesus was so foolish He made a thief His treasurer. He preached the virtue of turning the other cheek when slapped. He knew some people were out to kill Him, nevertheless, He allowed them to do so.
As a result, the so-called “Saviour of the world” could not even save Himself. He died the most ignoble death of all, hanging on a tree.
But then, this foolishness is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. (Romans 1:16). There is power and victory in the foolishness of God. David was foolish to fight Goliath with only a sling and a stone. But his foolishness was more than sufficient to defeat Goliath. Only the 300 who drank water like dogs were conscripted into Gideon’s victorious army.
The psalmist acknowledges to God: “Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, because of Your enemies, that You may silence the enemy and the avenger.” (Psalm 8:2).
Jesus echoes this: “Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4).
God Prefers the Foolish
Paul says: “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 wise, and God has chosen the weak 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.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).
Even if you are not foolish, God will often make a fool out of you. He will require that you do foolish things, ensuring that some will soon regard you as a fool.
God told Abram to change his name to Abraham, meaning father of many nations, when he did not even have a single child, thereby making him a laughingstock. He told Noah to build an ark on dry ground where there was no ocean and when it had never rained before.
He told the children of Israel to march foolishly around the walls of Jericho for seven days in silence, before finally bringing down the wall. He asked Isaiah to walk around without his trousers with his buttocks uncovered for three years, no less. He even asked Hosea to marry a prostitute.
He inducted me into a healing ministry by asking me to pray for the sick. But the first four times I did this, the patients died. He told me to put tattered furniture in my living-room, to the derision of my guests. He gave me a prophecy that my boss would be removed from office on Tuesday, forgetting to tell me that the Tuesday would not come for another two years.
Our faith requires us to have such confidence in God that many will take advantage of us. They will not realise that we know what they are doing, they simply think we are fools. Thus, Paul says:
We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honoured, we are dishonoured! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.” (1 Corinthians 4:10-13).
He even says under no circumstances should we litigate to defend our rights but should agree to be cheated: “Even to have such lawsuits with one another is a defeat for you. Why not just accept the injustice and leave it at that? Why not let yourselves be cheated?” (1 Corinthians 6:7).
Peter concurs: “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” (1 Peter 4:14).
Sooner or later, God promises to deal with those who take advantage of the fools for Christ. He says in Hosea:
“The time of Israel’s punishment has come; the day of payment is here. Soon Israel will know this all too well. Because of your great sin and hostility, you say, “The prophets are crazy and the inspired men are fools.’ (Hosea 9:7).
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