Short Meds in ‘Living the Life’: 3. Foolish Things
1 Cor 1:27a “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise.”
We place a lot in store in being wise thinkers. You know the truth of it if someone says to you (or implies it by the way they treat you), “You’re stupid!” We don’t like that! We like to think, we think wisely, are right in what we think, are right about what goes on in our minds. We’re happy to say we’re not particularly clever, but not foolish!
The world exalts philosophers, or big thinkers in politics or science or whatever. The history of philosophy is full of ideas about ‘meaning’, about what different clever people through the ages have thought was ‘wise’. Smart atheists of recent decades have mocked the Cross of Christ, just as Jews and Greeks did in Jesus’ day. We all have values when it comes to thinking ‘proper thoughts’.
The apostle Paul was of a different mind: “we preach Christ crucified… foolishness to Gentiles”, (v.23) he said, and then comes the big ‘BUT’: “but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (v.24) Do you see that? The Cross may appear stupid to an unbelieving world but as far as God is concerned, it releases power and is the only way that the world can be saved – and that is wisdom!
When you hear the call of God on your life that is first perceived as Holy Spirit conviction, like a drowning man gasping for air, you grab at whatever straw is thrown you. It doesn’t make logical sense but you heard the message and you grabbed for it – Christ died for me! I only sense the tip of the iceberg of his incredible love for me, but it is enough. No doubt further down the path I will understand more.
And then we start learning about justice and our lostness before the face of a holy and righteous God, our hopelessness and helplessness as we struggled to become good but couldn’t. We saw him reaching out to do in us what we couldn’t do – bring forgiveness, bring cleansing, bring sonship, bring redemption, bring a process of sanctification, and a hope of glory. But none of it made sense to our original unregenerate minds, it seemed pure foolishness, but it was the only thing on offer as we bowed in conviction of our sin and we just took it and, if it had been a big film sound track we would have heard a big deep voice, “And so it begins!”
Why has it to be this way? Well, as Paul went on to say, “so that no one may boast before him.” (v.29) If it made sense to human intellect, if we were able to achieve greatness on our own, we would simply end up with boosted egos who never turned to God for the ongoing daily resources we need. No we need faith in the foolish! Making sense of the world and our lives, starts with God and His revealed wisdom – the Cross of Christ. We need to start this year with a reaffirmation of the wisdom and weakness of the Cross and thank God that it is the sole reason we are saved. Foolish? Maybe, but at the Final Judgment, who’ll be laughing then?