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

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

Our foolish preaching

If we break down the message of the Gospel and look at it as an outsider might, it really is a foolish message.

A young girl gets pregnant before her wedding. The baby doesn’t belong to her fiance, but he marries her anyway. When she goes into labour, the only place they could find to stay was a stable. The kid grows up with his mother and adoptive father and trains in the family business—carpentry. He causes a bit of a ruckus, but by all accounts (and they are few), he’s a normal kid. At the age of thirty, he decides to make a bit more of a stir and hand-selects a group of people to follow him. Commercial fisherman and social outcasts are among those selected. This man from nowhere special then travels around with his little group and pretty much stirs up the religious people. He says things that are contrary to what they believe and he hangs out with people no one should be hanging out with. He performs all sorts of miracles—which many would have attributed to witchcraft. By the end of three years, he’s earned himself an execution. When he’s dead, all that’s left of his three years of wandering the countryside are a few men and a handful of weeping women.

Great story. No wonder so many people won’t listen to it! But that’s not the end.

This strange man with a contrary message didn’t stay dead. He came back to life in glorious fashion and continued to share his message with his followers for another forty days before disappearing. He disappeared.

This is the great message we are supposed to share with the world.

When people want to tell a story about one man saving the world, they send a superhero. Someone with extraordinary strength, power, and character. Someone with skills and abilities that go beyond being able to swing a hammer and tell a great story. They tell a story about an invincible hero who will always be around to save the day.

Our hero died. On purpose.

It is the fact that Jesus walked into his own death that makes our hero’s story the most extraordinary. He didn’t do what people expected of him. He did more.

I know very well how foolish the message of the cross sounds to those who are on the road to destruction. But we who are being saved recognize this message as the very power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:18 (NLT)

In order to be the hero that saved the day once and for all, Jesus had to do things differently.

Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never find him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save all those who believe.

1 Corinthians 1:21 (NLT)

The world may see our message as foolish (void of understanding or sound judgement; weak in intellect; unwise; imprudent; acting without judgement or discretion in particular things; ridiculous; despicable), but there is far more wisdom in it than anything the world could ever come up with.

This “foolish” plan of God is far wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is far stronger than the greatest of human strength.

1 Corinthians 1:25 (NLT)

God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important, so that no one can ever boast in the presence of God.

1 Corinthians 1:27-29 (NLT)

We can look at this story of salvation as the world might—a sad one of a strange leader and his motley crew that somehow managed to do enough to have their story told for millennia. Or we can see it for what it really is—an incredible story of sacrifice and salvation. The story of the world’s greatest hero born in the most humble of circumstances. The story of one man who gave up his own life not for his glory, but the glory of his Father and the salvation of the world.

God alone made it possible for you to be in Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made Christ to be wisdom itself. He is the one who made us acceptable to God. He made us pure and holy, and he gave himself to purchase our freedom.

1 Corinthians 1:30 (NLT)

Our story doesn’t end with death. It continues with life. Life everlasting.

Not so foolish, is it?

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 112-115, 1 Corinthians 1

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