1 Corinthians 4:9-10 “For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.”
We all have some level of respect for ourselves to shun shame or ridicule. So, to hear the apostle Paul talk of becoming a fool for Christ is a bit odd. It strikes at the heart of self-respect to think what others would say or think of us.
Paul sets that aside to get us to see a higher objective.
As he preached, taught, and discipled the people, what he taught and how he taught went against much of the culture and tradition of the day.
His passion and zeal for the gospel stood out, whether in a small group or a large crowd.
So, why play the fool?
Why risk opportunity and reputation for what others will think?
Paul was following the command given him of Christ:
1 Corinthians 1:17-18 “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”
What we are asked to do of God will seem like foolishness to those to whom we preach.
Paul reveals God’s reasoning to us.
1 Corinthians 1:27-29 “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.”
What we do and what we say will not make sense to the natural man.
1 Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
Natural men are those unsaved who cannot comprehend the gospel. The spiritual discernment that comes to understand the gospel has only one path.
John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Jesus did not say that He was A way, but THE way. There can be no other. Man becomes foolish to try to devise another way other than Jesus Christ.
Once saved, we are to abandon all thoughts of how we are to script our lives. It has already been done for us. Dreams, desires, and aspirations must all be laid on the altar of sacrifice.
We must allow ourselves to die to self and let God live through us. We do not often seek God for the small things in our lives. Yet, He has everything planned in greater detail than we know or understand.
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
Fear and pride keep us from relinquishing control of our lives to God. We fear looking foolish to those who know us or are too prideful to be thought foolish to those we don’t.
Here is a point to ponder:
If we are to be dead to ourselves, how does a dead man think or feel? ANSWER: They don’t.
In Romans, we are told to be a living sacrifice.
Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Paul’s example is that he sees himself dying every day.
1 Corinthians 15:31 “I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.”
We would all like the control in knowing just what it is to which we are dying. Dying to self to become a fool for Christ doesn’t make sense in the world’s economy. Yet, it is the exact path for every child of God to take.
We must die to what others will think of us.
We must die to our own thoughts of who we are, what we will become, or how it will all end.
Often, the process we are led to do that we are commanded takes us through places we would never think possible.
Paul thought that to do God’s will more efficiently, he needed to have and infirmity removed. God told him otherwise.
2 Corinthians 12:6-7 “For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.”
Paul saw God’s hand in keeping him in a place of dependency that wrought a more excellent work through him that he could do if he were free of infirmity.
God told him as much.
2 Corinthians 12:8-9 “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
We see the foolishness of God as weakness. God tells us otherwise.
Our human mind cannot often comprehend God’s way for us to think, speak, or act. Yet, when we follow His way by His Word, we have His promise of victory.
If I be thought a fool in this world, then so be it.
Becoming a fool for Christ, I can know and be assured that I please my God and my Savior.
2 Corinthians 12:10 “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”