I. “Innocent” Foolishness
We all know this one. Engaging in harmless fun, goofing off and the like. I’m not here to be a Grinch and rain on everyone’s fun. Having fun and letting off steam can be a good thing. Recreation and leisure is a necessary antidote to a workaholic life.
Yet, I think we all know the dangers of letting these attitudes dominate. Procrastination is a problem in and of itself, as this author well knows and admits to. But I am referring here to what the Bible calls “slothfulness.”
Proverbs Chapter 26 has a few things to say about the topic:
13 The slothful [man] saith, [There is] a lion in the way; a lion [is] in the streets.
14 [As] the door turneth upon his hinges, so [doth] the slothful upon his bed.
15 The slothful hideth his hand in [his] bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth.
16 The sluggard [is] wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.
Okay…so the slothful man can barely get out of bed and feed himself…not exactly a flattering description. The point here is that we cannot, particularly in an environment of endless distractions, allow ourselves to be lulled into a life of inactivity and listlessness. A life of inadequate motivation and productivity. When we reach this point, it is no longer “innocent” foolishness.
II. Immortal Foolishness
The Bible is clear that the gospel message is the essence of foolishness to those who are perishing (1 Cor 1:18). The behavior of persons who are not believers in Jesus Christ (as indicated by speech and actions which are in stark contrast to God’s Word; only God knows the true heart) seemingly continues to shock and amaze us. But it really should not. Unconverted hearts combined with the assault on traditional family values and the Judeo-Christian ethic has resulted in alarmingly sinful behavior. As an aside, the behavior of believers (who seem more worldly than godly) is sometimes troubling as well, but that is a topic for another time.
Later in First Corinthians [2:14] Paul reminds us that the “unbeliever does not receive the things of the Spirit of God…he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” This is indeed a danger zone. The human heart, when unfettered by the boundaries of God’s moral law and influence of the Holy Spirit, is capable of the utmost evil and depravity. The Bible, human history, and our life and times are filled with examples too numerous to mention here. But, my guess is that at least one or two from the headlines or your own experiences just popped into your mind.
What are the consequences of this immortal foolishness? The Bible tells us that it is appointed once for a man to die, and then the judgement [Heb 9:27]. That the wages of sin are death [Rom 6:23]. That Jesus will come again to judge all mankind; of which some are sheep who receive “Well done good and faithful servant” and some are goats who hear from the Lord, “Depart from me; I never knew you.” (Mat 7:21; 25:23, 31-46)
One chilling example from Scripture of a person exhibiting immortal foolishness is the rich man from Luke Chapter 12:
16Then He told them a parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced an abundance. 17So he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, since I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and will build bigger ones, and there I will store up all my grain and my goods. 19Then I will say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take it easy. Eat, drink, and be merry!”’ 20But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be required of you. Then who will own what you have accumulated?’ 21This is how it will be for anyone who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich toward God.”
Woe to the man or woman whom Almighty God calls “fool”! Each of us likely knows a family member, friend, or co-worker with this attitude toward life. A life motivated by greed and material wealth. Perhaps by lust or desire for alcohol or drugs. It is for these precious souls that we as intercessors labor before the throne of the Lord as often as we can.
III. The Foolishness of God
I Corinthians Chapter 1
20Where 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? 21For 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. 22Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
I just love sections of Scripture like this. It gives us insight into the mind of God as Paul wrote his letter to the church at Corinth (as divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit). And as I mentioned in an earlier piece God’s Upside Down Economy, the Lord excels in flipping things on their head. God describes all of our so-called “human wisdom” as folly, when compared to the good news of the gospel. The former has the power to deceive and confuse, and Satan makes much use of that. The latter has the power to soften and plow even the most hardened heart. And thus allow the saving message of the gospel to take root.
The “foolishness of God” – once despised as the most ridiculous nonsense imaginable – is now gladly worn as a badge of honor and glory to Almighty God in the converted heart of a redeemed sinner. Each of us, in some form or fashion, were considered a hopeless foolish case. Now we are proud to be considered fools for God.
“I have no time for foolishness.” The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.
“I have no time for foolishness.” I put away childish things. I run from the things of the world to pursue Christ.