Why is it so hard to follow Jesus on our walk through this world? Why is it so challenging when we make a decision to follow the call we feel God placing on us? The answer is simple. The ways of the Lord are foolishness to the world. The ways of the world, which are often pursued and valued, are to be foolishness to the follower of God. When we view the philosophy of the world as wise, following in their suggestions, life seems easy, but when we make counter intuitive decisions and go against them, life seems hard. The wisdom of the world is folly with God and the walk with Jesus is counter-intuitive to the world’s ways. The worldly philosophy rejects Gods wisdom and tries to dissuade those who follow it.
Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.”
1 Corinthians 3:18-20
We just went through junior winter camp and RESET is the theme. The memory verse is Romans 12:2.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
We are reset in our minds and given the ability to discern God’s will and follow it. We are transformed to follow the Wisdom of God which is folly to the world. We are destined to pursue “foolishness” in order that we might produce glory. Our minds are changed to see and discern the value and purpose in living the life the world considers dishonorable.
But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
We do not strive, fight, and climb the ladders of greatness to achieve acclaim and fame for ourselves. We do not pursue our glory of promotion at every turn. The wisdom of the world is turned on its head by the ways of the Lord. Our primary passion is no longer what we eat, own, experience, learn, or desire. Our primary passion is to create glory for a Kingdom which is not in this world.
And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”
We do not prioritize those who can help us achieve our physical goals in this world, casting off those who cannot increase our productivity or efficiency. God calls us to the least so that He is most served. God directs us to the worst so He can work His most.
And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
We do not prosper and experience easy victory. We must suffer and break to grow and to flourish. We must lose in order to gain and give up of what we have to keep possession of what we need. God calls us to live against the odds so His faithfulness can be seen and experienced by those around us.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
We are not to strive to be the most scholarly, prestigious, and academic that we can be. We are to be like children carefree of success and achievement, trusting that the life we have in Christ is the best thing there can possibly be. Although God gives us spiritual, physical, and intellectual gifts, we are not to prioritize the increase of those over the increase of our faith in God’s provision. We are not called to seek our glory, rather whatever glory God can make known about Himself through our experience.
Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Our exaltation does not come from comfort and success. Humility has more power than any worldly enjoyment, joy, or status to move our hearts toward celebrating Gods glory!
When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord's anointed is before him.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:6-7
God confounds the world at every turn that we might learn to see and pursue the deeper aspects of His glory. God calls us to look past the shallow surface of His creation to see the deeper purpose of His Will. He calls us to pursue “foolishness” to destroy the wisdom of the wise. God calls us to make our decisions contrary to the leading experts of the world, to find our purpose in His Will so that we would boast only of Him and seek only His glory. The ways of the Lord are not our ways, and the things of value to the Lord are not the things of value to us. We must constantly live transformed lives of renewed mind to be able to appreciate and experience the walk the Lord is calling us to experience with Him.
Our success in this world is an afterthought to the ultimate goal and purpose to bring glory and honor to God in following Him wherever this walk leads.
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Scripture Used in This Post:
All scripture from ESV version (Biblegateway.com)
1 Corinthians 3:18-20
1 Samuel 16:6-7
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Resources Used in this Post:
Photo by Carl Raw
Quote from David Platt