We’re continuing our look at Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church. The church had broken into factions over following their favorite teachers. In dealing with this, Paul is showing them that the wisdom of God is far superior to human wisdom.
Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise.
1 Corinthians 3:18
This is actually a very scary verse of Scripture. It troubles me to think that I could possibly trick myself into believing a lie.
Of course, we know that it’s a very easy thing to do. On more than one occasion I’ve used the arguments that I heard in society around me. I then convinced myself that I could do something completely opposite to what I knew to be correct.
As Christians, we need to understand that what the world calls wisdom, is not always the truth. It may seem to work for a season, but eventually, it will produce death in us.
My goal should be to operate in the wisdom of God; that which I receive from the Spirit. Then I know that I’m headed in the direction of Life. Unfortunately, in the eyes of the world, this sometimes appears to be foolishness.
Paul goes on to explain the differences.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”
1 Corinthians 3:19-20
When we reject God’s wisdom in favor of the world’s, we’ve chosen the path of deception. We’re now opening up our lives for the problems that come from foolish decisions.
The phrase, catches the wise in their craftiness, is very descriptive in the Greek. The word, catch, means to entrap like when a snake hypnotizes its prey by rocking back and forth.
The word picture shows us that we become fascinated by our own trickery. We deceive ourselves to believe the world’s way of doing things and then we become obsessed with it.
I’ve seen it happen many times. A believer does something totally out of character for a follower of Christ. You then hear them explaining it over and over to everyone they meet.
“I deserved to do that. It’s my turn now. I have the right to be happy. I have to think about myself; no one else will.”
We become obsessed and fascinated by our self-deception. In the end, it will ruin us if we continue in it.
Paul’s second quote is just as important. The word, thoughts, literally means an internal dialogue.
Have you ever had these discussions taking place within yourself? You know the right thing to do, but you keep repeating the world’s wisdom to convince yourself to go another way.
The verse says that God knows these internal discussions are empty and profitless. It could also mean that it will get to the point of idolatry.
Not that you’ll worship a statue of wood or metal. It’s more deceptive than that. We actually place the wisdom of this age as the ruler of our lives. We give the world our attention instead of the Holy Spirit.
Don’t fall into the trap of self-deception. Take stock of whose wisdom you listen to. Seek time in the Lord’s presence to hear His voice. Then follow it over and above anything that the world will try and convince you of.
Question: Why is the world’s wisdom so attractive to us?
© 2019 Nick Zaccardi