Silence the fools

It is God’s will that your good lives should silence those who make foolish accusations against you. You are not slaves; you are free. But your freedom is not an excuse to do evil. You are free to live as God’s slaves.

1 Peter 2:15-16 (NLT)

The best way to prove a fool wrong is by your actions—not with malicious intent, but by simply living contrary to their foolish accusations.

The church is one of the most accused groups out there. It’s full of hypocrites. They just preach that prosperity stuff. The preachers all holler and spit. It’s only a place where weak people go.

The best way around all of those things is to live the exact opposite. Live with integrity. Preach a balanced message. Whisper and try not to drool. Be strong. Let the way you live exceed the expectations of others.

Be careful how you live among your unbelieving neighbors. Even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will believe and give honor to God when he comes to judge the world.

1 Peter 2:12 (NLT)

If you’ve ever tried to argue your point with a fool, you know that it is a fruitless waste of time.

Doing wrong is fun for a fool, but living wisely brings pleasure to the sensible.

Proverbs 10:23 (NLT)

The best response to a foolish accusation is to live a life above reproach. In living wisely, not only can we find pleasure and honor, but we silence the fools.

Daily Bible reading: Ezekiel 34-35, 1 Peter 2

Weak

You’ve probably had a lot of experiences that many people don’t know about. You’ve done things, been places, seen people. Much of which could probably bring you up a few rungs on the ladder of worth when it comes to what others think about you. But is all of that really worthwhile? Is it really of value to boast about all those things if they are of no eternal value?

I have plenty to boast about and would be no fool in doing it, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it. I don’t want anyone to think more highly of me than what they can actually see in my life and in my message.

2 Corinthians 12:6 (NLT)

If it doesn’t further our ministry or our message, is it really worth boasting about? We shouldn’t have to rely on the opinions of others for validation. All the validation we will ever need is found in Christ. Besides, the worse off we are, the more Christ is able to do in our lives.

Since I know it is all for Christ’s good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10 (NLT)

The world would have us believe that weakness makes us, well, weak. But it doesn’t have to. If we are always strong, we never have reason to lean on God. We never have the need to call on the name of Jesus. But in our weakness, when we must rely on our Creator, He makes us strong. He works in and through us. This is the life and the message Paul is talking about.

We shouldn’t have to boast about what God has done because people should be able to see what God is doing. If you’re always talking about what God did in the past, is there even room for Him in the present? There is no shame in weakness because, if Christ is in us, he has already taken our shame upon himself. As for the insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities?

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is our through Christ, who loved us.

Romans 8:35, 37 (NLT)

If you must boast, boast in that. That, no matter what life or the devil may throw at you, you belong to Christ. You are his, he is yours. Go ahead, be weak. Let Christ show his strength through you.

Daily Bible reading: Song of Solomon 1-3, 2 Corinthians 12

Don’t bother

Maybe I’m the only one, but when I read a controversial article online, I can’t help but scroll through the comments. And then I start to get riled up. Some people can be so ignorant! How can they even believe things like that? How can someone agree? How can they disagree? Can’t they even bother to use spell check? My initial reaction is to respond to every ignorant and inane comment right away. On the few occasions I have, I end up regretting it.

If you’re reading this, you have internet access and you’re probably aware that there are thousands of people out there who feel it is their calling to set things straight. They troll news and social media sites looking for topics that have the potential to spark debate and then they light it up. They believe themselves to be enlightened and on top of current social justice issues. They’re right. Every time. I have to resist the urge to respond to these types of people. The book of Proverbs would refer to them as fools, simple minded, wicked, liars. There is no use in responding to these people.

Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get a smart retort. Anyone who rebukes the wicked will get hurt.

Proverbs 9:7 (NLT)

Whether online or in “real life”, the best way to respond to these types of people is to not respond at all. But they need to know the truth! Yes, they do. But if they’re not looking for it, reading one comment from you isn’t likely to lead them down the path of enlightenment.

Don’t talk to much, for it fosters sin. Be sensible and turn off the flow!

Proverbs 10:19 (NLT)

Why would you bother to pour out the wisdom that God has given you into a fool? They won’t receive it. Save it. Don’t join in the foolishness of the simple-minded.

So don’t bother rebuking mockers; they will only hate you. But the wise, when rebuked, will love you all the more.

Proverbs 9:8 (NLT)

This doesn’t mean that we leave this group of people alone entirely. It means that we learn from Kenny Rogers.

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run

Save your wisdom. Save your knowledge of truth. Don’t waste it on those who don’t want it. Don’t bother trying to guide the blind. Don’t try to correct those who won’t accept it. Spend your energy leading those who are searching. And, above all, learn to fear the Lord, not the bored musings of blind fools.

Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in understanding.

Proverbs 9:10 (NLT)

Daily Bible reading: Proverbs 9-10, 1 Corinthians 15:1-32

A little folly

FOLLY: Weakness of intellect; imbecility of mind, want of understanding.

A weak or absurd act not highly criminal; an act which is inconsistent with the dictates of reason, or with the ordinary rules of prudence.

An absurd act which is highly sinful; any conduct contrary to the laws of God or man; sin; scandalous crimes; that which violates moral precepts and dishonors the offender.

Criminal weakness; depravity of mind.

The more I see the word folly, the less sense it makes in my head. It’s an odd word, to be sure. Odd in pronunciation and in definition. Imbecility of mind. 

Yet folly is something we have (more than likely) all taken part in. Whether it be in our youth or before we came to know Christ or even in our Christian walk. It is the latter that I wish to address, though.

…so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.

Ecclesiastes 10:1b (ESV)

We’re all human. We all have the constant struggle of trying to renew our minds so that they perpetually reflect the mind of Christ. We don’t always succeed. At least, I don’t.

In 2 Corinthians 11 and 12, Paul makes his boast of the things that make him weak. Folly makes us all weak. It breaks us down and makes us unproductive.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV)

Folly makes us weak, but when we admit our weakness, we allow wisdom to reign and we are stronger.

…but wisdom helps one to succeed.

Ecclesiastes 10:10b (ESV)

Folly is not something we should aspire to – just a little will overshadow great wisdom. Yet, when we inevitably fall into foolishness, if we admit our wrongdoings and pursue again the mind of Christ, we grow stronger in the strength of God and put ourselves in a position to succeed.

Daily Bible reading: Ecclesiastes 10-12, 2 Corinthians 11:16-33

Multiply

The world is loud. Really loud.

There are things being shouted at us from all directions at all times.

The woman Folly is loud;
she is seductive and knows nothing.

Proverbs 9:13 (ESV)

Foolishness is loud. It stands up and shouts an invitation and most people see the appeal in it and will follow the louder voice. But that voice leads nowhere but to shame and destruction.

It is the quiet voice that needs to be lifted up.

Does not wisdom call?
Does not understanding raise her voice?
On the heights beside the way,
at the crossroads she takes her stand;
beside the gates in front of the town,
at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud.

Proverbs 8:1-3 (ESV)

Where foolishness leads to destruction, wisdom, that quiet voice, leads to so much more.

Teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.

Proverbs 9:9b (ESV)

For by [wisdom] your days will be multiplied,
and years will be added to your life.

Proverbs 9:11 (ESV)

A slack hand causes poverty,
but the hand of the diligent makes rich.

Proverbs 10:4 (ESV)

Read through Proverbs 9 and 10 and ponder the words associated with wisdom. These are the things we should be looking for – not the temptation that comes from foolishness, but the enduring benefits of wisdom:

  • increase
  • multiplied
  • glad
  • blessings
  • receive
  • life
  • wealth
  • pleasure
  • joy

I don’t know about you, but that list looks pretty good to me.

Daily Bible reading: Proverbs 9-10, 1 Corinthians 15:1-32

Sounds familiar

Sometimes, when I read the Bible, I forget that it was written thousands of years ago and not last week. Today David’s words ring as true as ever.

Fools say to themselves, “There is no God.”
Fools are evil and do terrible things;
none of them does anything good.

God looked down from heaven on all people
to see if anyone was wise,
if anyone was looking to God for help.
But all have turned away.
Together, everyone has become evil;
none of them does anything good.
Not a single person.

Don’t the wicked understand?
They destroy my people as if they were eating bread.
They do not ask God for help.
The wicked are filled with terror
where there had been nothing to fear.
God will scatter the bones of your enemies.
You will defeat them,
because God has rejected them.

I pray that victory will come to
Israel from Mount Zion!
May God bring them back.
Then the people of Jacob will rejoice,
and the people of Israel will be glad.

Psalm 53 (NCV)

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 53-55; Acts 27:26-44