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Proverbs 13:20 - He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.
(AMP) - He who walks [as a companion] with wise men will be wise, But the companions of [conceited, dull-witted] fools [are fools themselves and] will experience harm.
If you and I are going to grow in wisdom we need to make sure that we surround ourselves with people who have and walk in wisdom. What this means is that you need to know what wisdom looks like and what foolishness looks like.
The world defines foolishness and wisdom very differently than the Bible.
The dictionaries definition looks like this – A fool is a person who lacks good sense and judgement. Silly or senseless. One who repeatedly makes silly mistakes that could easily be avoided or someone who does or says things without thinking about the consequences.
This is good but it is really only part of what God reveals to us.
One of the first things that we need to understand about wisdom and foolishness is that the world regards Christians as fools and the Gospel of Jesus Christ as foolish.
1 Corinthians 1:26-28 - For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not manynoble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,
1 Corinthians 1:18 - or the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:20-25 - (NLT) - So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. 21 Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. 22 It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. 23 So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended, and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. 24 But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.
When the Bible teaches on wisdom and foolishness it does so for those that have a desire to know God and to learn His ways.
God’s wisdom is spiritual, and it cannot be completely understood by the natural man.
1 Corinthians 2:14 - But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
The one thing that you will discover about God’s wisdom is that it is remarkably simple. I like to call it simple truth with deep and lasting impact. The world complicates wisdom and makes it seem unattainable. The Bible tells us that God will give wisdom to all who ask.
The first thing that makes a fool a fool is their rejection of God.
Psalm 53:1 - The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
Proverbs tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom. One of the clearest ways that you know that you are dealing with a fool and a foolish person is when they tell you either they do not believe in God or that they do not have time for “religious things because they just don’t believe in that kind of thing. One thing that we must understand is that foolish does not mean goofy. All of us stereo type things including our idea of a fool. Some think of mindless non-thinkers who dismiss the idea of God outright. Others see a hard-working beer drinking party boy or woman who just wants to be left alone to live their life.
One of the things that surprised me early on in my walk with God is that many foolish people who reject God are well read, educated, articulate and calm. They have “studied” the religions of the world and have drawn the conclusion that they are all the same. Some have been hurt and disappointed by some incredible losses in life and have decided that if this is what God is like then they want nothing to do with Him. Often times a fool is not quite what we have expected.
A fool doesn’t value learning a lesson.
Proverbs 1:7 - The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
There are some people who have no real desire to learn, grow and better themselves. They have no desire for Godly knowledge and understanding and they have no real desire to be taught.
Fools are unteachable. They refuse to do anything with knowledge and understanding that someone may have just dropped into their lap. One of the things that sets the wise apart from a fool is their desire to be teachable.
Proverbs 9:8-9 - (NLT) - So don’t bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you. 9 Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser.
Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more.
The wise welcome teaching, correction, direction or advise. Fools have no desire to humble themselves to receive teaching or redirection.
One of the last things that we learn from fools is that there is a way you must talk with them when you realize that you are interacting with a fool.
Proverbs 26:4-5 - Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.
(AMP) - Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are. 5 Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools, or they will become wise in their own estimation.
At face value this wisdom sounds contradictory but if you look at it, this is powerful.
Many people have a hard time with the idea of identifying a fool. The Bible tells us that we CAN know the difference between the foolish and the wise. This is not judging it is Biblical observation.
First of all, simply trying to reason with a fool is a fool’s errand. They believe what they think, and they are not budging from their position. If you try a reasonable approach with a mocker or even with an educated thinker, you are going to be constantly hitting your head on the proverbial brick wall. If you have ever been in one of these conversations no matter how well intentioned, you are going to look and feel just as foolish as they are.
~Mark Twain - “NEVER ARGUE WITH STUPID PEOPLE. THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL AND BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.”
We are told to answer a fool according to their own folly. – Many assume that this is permission to be sarcastic. It is not.
In the process of having a conversation with a fool it is reframing your questions to them in such a way that they realize their logic and patterns of thinking are incorrect. It is not telling a fool that they are foolish it is helping lead them to the conclusion on their own. If we do not take the time to thoughtfully correct and teach the foolish, we will leave them thinking that they are wise in their own opinion.
As we continue to move into the deeper things of God it is important that we know the difference between wisdom and foolishness.
May the Lord bless you and your family during these summer months. Take time to rest, enjoy family and be sure to stay in church and close to God.
Know that You are loved,
Pastor Marvin & Dawn