Wise foolishness

A sense of horror overwhelmed me as I realised that it was only by the Lord holding me on a tight leash that I was kept from working for the destruction of His people.

The Lord has given me a degree of wisdom. As I have watched a spiritual train wreck happening, I have been tempted out of a misguided sense of compassion to intervene and sort it out. I am frustrated by the failure of leadership to do what is needed. The Lord however has held me back. And so He should, for if I were to speak I would damage His body and disrupt His greater plan.

Paul writes, ‘If anyone thinks he is wise by the standards of this world, he should become a fool so that he can become wise.’ (1 Corinthians 3:18) The problem with wisdom is that it can only work with what is perceived and understood, it cannot see God’s big picture. So in this ‘train wreck’ I have to fight against the counsel of wisdom, however godly it seems. A greater wisdom is at play that will ultimately expose my limited wisdom as foolishness. I have to become a fool in my own eyes as I restrain myself, knowing that the Lord has spoken a deeper wisdom into my heart. Faith trusts that God’s counsel will prove true. Hope waits patiently for Jesus’ intervention and love is possible only in this settled state of knowing the Lord has all in hand.

The embarrassing cross

The cross stands as an embarrassment! If I proclaim a God of power it is embarrassing that my God was taken to a cross and executed. If I expect the Lord to bring physical and emotional wholeness then I am embarrassed by the physical torture and emotional abuse He endured. If I look to Scripture for wisdom, I am embarrassed by Jesus’ foolish decision to go to Jerusalem where everyone warned that He would die. I am part of a disciple making ministry, focusing on whole of life discipleship. The cross then is embarrassing because it cut short The Incarnation: God with us, for only three short years.

These spiritual pathways are good, but whichever way we approach God, the cross stands as a stark contrast. Paul wrote, ‘Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.’ (1 Corinthians 1:22-23 NIV) It is easy to miss the point of the cross and lift up the spiritual pathway God has used to transform my life. When I do this I miss the greatness of God in the narrowness of that pathway. Paul continues, ‘For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.’ (1 Corinthians 1:25 NIV). How often God uses the fumbling efforts of a young Christian, while the polished wisdom of the godly fails. My spiritual pathway kneels before the cross as powerless. God alone gives life.