“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Whose Fool are You?, by Randall D. Kittle
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“We are fools for Christ’s sake.” — 1 John 2:20-27

Vance Havner used to tell the story of seeing a simple-minded but sincere convert on a busy sidewalk pacing back and forth with one of those sandwich-board placards on his chest. It said on the front, “I am a Fool for Jesus.” As he turned to walk the other way, the sign read, “Whose Fool are You?” The same question is posed to us today. Whose fool will we be?

In 1 Corinthians, Paul spends a great deal of time explaining to the Corinthian believers that the wisdom of God is perceived as foolishness by the world (1 Corinthians 1:18). In fact, Paul says that the gospel is not naturally palatable to the world, and it is only because of the mercy of God that some even receive this message of
“foolishness” (1 Corinthians 1:21). The Greek word used there for “foolishness” is from the root word “moros,” from which our English word “moron” comes, and can be translated “fool, moron, imbecile.” In the opening chapters of 1 Corinthians, this word appears over and over again. If we believe the gospel, the world will see us as fools … imbeciles … morons.

The plain truth is that the salvation of mankind provided by the finished work of the cross two thousand years ago is still “foolishness” to this world. This shouldn’t surprise us. The ways of God seldom follow the didactic thinking of man. As God himself has testified,
“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8). God choose a shepherd boy named David to defeat a giant and bring victory to His people. When God’s people were oppressed and overrun by the invading Midianites, the Lord raised up Gideon — a coward hiding in a hole in the ground — to be their deliverer. And when His people faced annihilation by the jealous and wicked Haman, God basically used a beauty pageant queen, Esther, to destroy Haman and save His people.

God’s Fools
The Bible is filled with people who looked foolish in the eyes of the world — people who did things that caused others to look on in bewilderment. Noah built the biggest boat anyone had ever seen in a remote region far from any ocean or sea. Imagine the ridicule he faced from his mocking neighbors. Abraham left his home and was seen by the world as a crazy, old man wandering around the wilderness looking for “something.” They called him Abraham the Hebrew, and the word “Hebrew” meant “wanderer.” God told the prophet Hosea to pick a prostitute for a wife to send a message to His people. And, Saul, a rising star among the Pharisees, exchanged power and prestige for persecution and prison.

The faith we are called to is not illogical as much as it is “supra-logical.” Christianity is a faith that is
beyond reason. God calls us to do things that don’t make sense to the world — things that cause people to look at us and wonder why. Turn the other cheek. Welcome home prodigal sons. Love our enemies. Pray for those who persecute us. We are called to love, with expectations of nothing in return. Simply stated, we are called to act “foolish” in the eyes of the world in order to glorify God. To be a faithful Christian — obedient to the word of God — you must be willing to become a fool in the eyes of the world. Not self-pitying, not sour, not defensive, not miserable, not “oh-poor-me” fools, but unashamed, happy, hope-filled fools for Christ.

So, here’s the crucial question: Will we be ashamed of believing what the Bible teaches when the world calls us fools? Or, will we rejoice, not only in spite of their insults but because of them? Will we be like Paul who said in 2 Corinthians 12:10,
“For the sake of Christ, I am content with insults”? Will we respond like the apostles when they were shamed as fools in Acts 5:42? “They left the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to be shamed for the name.” Will we obey Peter’s exhortation when he says, “Rejoice if you are insulted for the name of Christ, because the Spirit of glory and of God rest on you” (1 Peter 4:13-14)?

As Christians, our calling is to a different way of thinking and being, a way the world will regard as foolish. If we live out this calling with integrity, if we are truly people of love and grace, if we live sacrificially in service to others, many in the world will be drawn to Christ. It was true 2,000 years ago, and it is still true today. Until we renounce the foolishness of this world for the wisdom of God, we are fools in the eyes of God. However, the minute we make that exchange we become a fool in the eyes of the world. So … whose fool are you?

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