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. 1 Cor. 1:27
At first, I struggled with what foolish things confounded the wise as I was having my daily time with the Lord. Then I had to laugh because if most people in the world were to watch me on a regular basis, they might find me somewhat foolish. The life of a writer involves a lot of brooding while staring into the distance. I used to imagine that life as a writer meant reading constantly (well, it does) and waxing eloquent on any number of topics. Instead, it is more Sisyphean and involves rolling big mental rocks up steep hills only to have them roll back down.
But the life of a Christian, lived as it is in the spirit, looks quite stupid to those on the outside. I know. I have a few judges in my family who view my incessant blogging about Christian stuff more than just foolish. It is perhaps dangerous. Little do they know that I hope it is dangerous! But as I asked the Lord to unpack that verse for me, I began to realize just how silly we must look to the wise minds of the world, shaking their heads at our delusions. So when I asked the Lord what in particular seems most foolish to the world, this is the list He gave me (and to believe He gave it to might be deemed foolish!):
1: The Gospel
Paul says it best in 1 Cor. 1: 18: For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. If one is able to swallow the idea that there is a God, the idea that He came down and took everyone’s sin on Himself on the cross and then defeated death itself by rising from the dead is preposterous. The very basis of Christianity centers on a resurrection. But to those who accept that idea into the very core of our being, we begin to move in rhythm with the Creator Himself.
Talking to a God who may or may not exist seems foolish to many. I remember hearing members of the media mock the Christians who gathered to pray after a school shooting. How stupid they looked to those journalists with their bent heads and candles, whispering to a God who didn’t prevent this evil. But for those who would readily grasp power over others for control, a God who relinquished control over humanity so that real love might exist seems more than foolish. He seems irresponsible, allowing the practice of free will.
3: Loving our Enemies
Loving our enemies makes no sense. What makes sense is to at the very least, protect ourselves against them. But Jesus loved us before we first came to know Him, while we were yet enemies to God. I am not making an argument for or against pacifism. That is its own whole dilemma. But loving our neighbor often means loving our enemy. Serving faithfully the unfair boss, reaching across the aisle politically, even forgiving those who have betrayed us, those are the difficult loves. Notice that many of the dramas played out in the Old Testament were domestic ones. From Cain to David, loving their enemies often meant loving their king or their brother.
4: Speaking in Tongues
I don’t think I have to even say why this appears foolish. After all, on the day of Pentecost, everyone thought the apostles were drunk at first. I just think of a friend I know who was pretty sure her attempts at speaking in tongues was the dumbest thing ever. But when she did it quietly at a funeral, the man next to her thanked her for her Hebrew prayers that ministered to him deeply. Thing was, she didn’t know any Hebrew.
5: Obeying the Still Small Voice instead of Conventional Wisdom
2 Cor. 2:15 says: The one who is spiritual discerns all things, yet he himself is understood by no one. Honestly, if I didn’t laugh at this one, I would cry. So many times the Lord called me to do things that appear foolish. He called me to marry my husband only months after we had met on eHarmony. Fifteen years later, I can still see how that might look to some, but we are so grateful that we heeded the voice of the Lord. When God calls you to behave in a way that is outside the norm, it requires a leap of faith as well as facing the rejection of friends and family. Do it anyway. You won’t regret it in the end.
Every Christian has to confront the reality that following after the things of God means leaving the things of the world behind. One day the Lord specifically asked me if I was willing to be foolish for Him. I still dislike the question because it practically asserts that I will appear foolish if I serve the Lord. I said yes though at the time I felt as if I was dragging my fingers across a chalkboard, my voice was so squeaky. And boy, have I felt the weight of that yes. But the joys that come with relinquishing some false appearance of wisdom to take up a childlike faith are real.
So if you find that people whose opinions you value have deemed you foolish, remember that the truly spiritual person is understood by no one. That is quite a verse to confront. There comes a time when everyone will think you a fool except for the Author and Finisher of your faith. If you ever find yourself so radically obeying God that even fellow believers think you have gone too far, I offer you my congratulations. You are doing the whole Christian thing right.
If you have not read George MacDonald’s Fairy Tales, then you are missing out on one of the greatest sources of childlike wisdom, ever. C.S. Lewis loved him so much, he wrote a book about him. These are truly amazing. His Gifts of the Child Christ is hard to find but if you do, pick it up. You will never regret it. This is an affiliate link, by the way.