‘fools despise wisdom and instruction.’ (Proverbs 1:7 NIV)
‘you should become “fools”’ (1 Corinthians 3:18 NIV)
What should we be, a fool or not a fool?
In many ways the word ‘fool’ is straightforward. We label someone a fool who lacks common sense, who behaves inappropriately, and who displays no wisdom.
The Bible frequently uses the term in this way. Fools say,
‘There is no God’ (Psalm 14:1;53:1). Some are ‘believing atheists’ in that they believe there is no God, others are ‘functional atheists’; they believe in God but act as though God doesn’t exist. Either way it’s foolish. We are told that fools: mock sin
(Proverbs 14:9); spread slander (Prov. 10:18); build their houses on sand
(Matthew 7:24-27); aim to find happiness in money and physical possessions rather than spiritual things
(Luke 12:13-21); don’t believe that the Old Testament spoke about Jesus
(Luke 24:25) and are ill-prepared for their future encounter with Christ
(Matthew 25:1-13). With such descriptions who would want to be a fool?
Apparently the Apostle Paul had no difficulty in applying this word to himself and Apollos when he wrote,
‘We are fools for Christ’. (1 Corinthians 4:10) Why would he write such a thing?
We are given a clue in 1 Corinthians 1:18–21,
‘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.” Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 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.’
What the world counts as foolish, Christians have rested their eternal salvation on. When a person accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, and they turn their back on the pleasures and the materialism of this world for their satisfaction, people will think they are a fool.
But so be it.
The foolishness of bringing salvation through the weakness of the cross frustrates worldly wisdom and intelligence and makes the Christian a fool for Christ.
That’s one epithet I don’t mind being saddled with – How about you?
Father, may you call more fools for Christ who are prepared to believe, teach and live by the foolish message of the cross, so that your grace may flow to and through them to your glory.
Have a good week being a fool for Christ.