April 1, 2013

I Pity the Fool

If you ask the world around you how they would define a "fool," you'd probably hear definitions including everything from "crazy" to "unwise." Mr. T's classic catchphrase "I pity the fool" usually pops into my mind.

Did you know that the Bible defines a fool as someone who says in their heart that there is no God? I get frustrated sometimes when society at large classifies Christians as ignorant and simple-minded. I consider myself to be an intelligent person. I'm not a nuclear physicist or a molecular biologist, but I did graduate as valedictorian of my high school and graduated summa cum laude with a double major from my University.

I don't say all that to toot my own horn. I mention it because I could have all of the accolades the world provides and if I refuse to acknowledge the existence of God, I am a fool. 

What's the difference between the wise and the foolish? According to scripture "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." The term "fear" doesn't mean that God wants us cowering in the corner afraid that he might smite us with a bolt of lightening. It's a healthy respect. A recognition that God is not man. He is holy and he is separate.

A healthy understanding and respect of God is essential to what the Bible describes as wisdom. Take a glance through the book of Proverbs. Wisdom is personified as a woman who brings good things to those who heed her voice. Wisdom enables us to make the right choice, to choose the right path, and to keep ourselves from harm.

If you were to poll the average man on the street and ask them who is foolish, the person who believes in God or the person who does not believe in God, chances are they'll categorize the Christian as foolish - charging them with believing in myths and fairy tales, unenlightened, uneducated.

"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong." 1 Corinthians 1:27

I don't have all the answers. I still struggle through my own personal questions and issues, but the thing I'm reminded of on a regular basis is that the wisdom of God is often contrary to the wisdom of the world. The world says that to be a leader you must exert force and speak with authority; Scripture says that true leaders humble themselves and serve. The world says that you are successful if you are at the top of your field, or if you are in the spotlight; Scripture says that the last will be first and the first will be last. The world says that you should seek to control your future as much as possible; Scripture says do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow has enough worries of its own.

The world's wisdom and God's wisdom are often in conflict. I love that God has given us the ability to choose - we're not some group of cosmic robots who have to love God because we were programmed to do so. Wisdom calls out, but we get to choose if we want to listen or ignore her voice.

Does not wisdom call out?
    Does not understanding raise her voice?

At the highest point along the way,
    where the paths meet, she takes her stand;

beside the gate leading into the city,
    at the entrance, she cries aloud: 

 “To you, O people, I call out;
    I raise my voice to all mankind.

You who are simple, gain prudence;
    you who are foolish, set your hearts on it.  

Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say;
    I open my lips to speak what is right.  

My mouth speaks what is true,
    for my lips detest wickedness.  

All the words of my mouth are just;
    none of them is crooked or perverse. 
To the discerning all of them are right;
    they are upright to those who have found knowledge.

 Choose my instruction instead of silver,
    knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies,
    and nothing you desire can compare with her.

Proverbs 8:1-11


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