2003-02-14 - Wisdom = foolishness
God's Paradoxes, Part 3
I believe in "higher education." I think God calls many of us to go to college, where we attain knowledge that He will use in our ministries. I personally have experienced that. For example, as I seek justice (a la Micah 6:8), I use my Social Work knowledge.
And we are to use wisdom - God's wisdom - in our everyday lives. As Colossians 3:5 says, Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time..
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance defines wisdom as:
The varied knowledge of things human and divine, acquired by acuteness and experience, and summed up in maxims and proverbs. the science and learning.
Knowledge itself is morally neutral. But unless it's channeled for God's purposes, it can be misappropriated for evil.
When that knowledge is used for the wrong purposes, God's word goes so far as to say that it would be better for us to be "foolish."
1 Corinthians 3:18-19 Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.
The world's idea of wisdom often doesn't line up with God's. The world's wisdom tells us how to cheat on our taxes, while God's wisdom tells us to be honest and obey authorities (Romans 13). The world's wisdom tells us to admire those who spout constant profanities, while God's wisdom instructs us to have pure speech. The world's wisdom tells us that what's important in life, is to be rich and powerful, while God's wisdom promotes humility and compassion. The world's wisdom lauds television shows that glorify people who berate people ("The Weakest Link") or who are murderers ("The Sopranos"), while God's wisdom promotes the value of people and life.
When you read or hear about something that is allegedly wise or smart, evaluate it by God's word. As James 3:17 beautifully summarizes for us:
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.