1 Corinthians 3:18-23
1 Corinthians 3:18 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. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written: "He catches the wise in their craftiness" ; 20 and again, "The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile." 21 So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future - all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.
I shared how, in the middle of a public park, I had prayed for a young woman. I had conducted her marriage ceremony three years ago, she was heavily pregnant and concerned because she was two weeks overdue, and had a hospital appointment the next day to be induced. I prayed that God would induce the labour before the hospital. Next day, at 6 a.m. She went into labour and gave birth to a healthy baby boy at 4 p.m. I felt a bit of a fool praying for Kathy in the park, but felt that God wanted me to.
Some of the Corinthian Christians thought that they were spiritually superior to others because they had a better "knowledge".
Paul encourages them to turn from what the world regards as wisdom and consider themselves fools, instead. After all, the best wisdom that mankind can produce is foolishness compared to the wisdom of God. The reasoning of the wise is useless for the most important issues of life.
In 1:18-25 Paul had said that the wisdom of God, namely, Christ crucified, is foolishness to the world. Here he made the same point in reverse: the wisdom of the world is foolishness in God's sight.
So called wise and intelligent people will dismiss all or parts of the Bible, reject the Christian faith, deride the possibility of the resurrection. But God's word says that these thoughts are futile.
Richard Dawkins in the "God delusion" dismisses a charicature of Jesus and Christianity that few if any thinking Christians would recognize.
Introducing "Enemies of reason" he writes. "There are two ways of looking at the world – through faith and superstition or through the rigours of logic, observation and evidence – in other words, through reason. Reason and a respect for evidence are precious commodities, the source of human progress and our safeguard against fundamentalists and those who profit from obscuring the truth. Yet, today, society appears to be retreating from reason."
There are many logical reasons to trust in Jesus. The historical evidence for his life, death and resurrection, for example. But human reason will be like morning mist when people appear before God.
Paul then goes on to reject the personality cult of the Corinthians. They boasted about which teacher they followed - Paul, Apollos or Cephas. In doing so they were limiting the way God could bless them by rejecting all but one teacher.
Warren Wiersbe; "Perhaps we cannot help but have our personal preferences when it comes to the way different men minister the Word. But we must not permit our personal preferences to become divisive prejudices. In fact, the preacher I may enjoy the least may be the one I need the most!"
Paul wrote, "All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future--all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God."
The point he is making is that everything, including all teachers, belong to God and are a gift from God. In fact, all believers belong to God through Christ and, therefore belong to one another through Christ by His Spirit.
There is an order concerning authority here. God first, Christ next, then humankind. We live in an anti-authoritarian culture where some people think they have enough wisdom to judge the word of God and those who proclaim it without truly understanding it.
I have seen a Christian T shirt. It said on it, "I am a fool for Christ. Whose fool are you?"
Don't be a fool. Trust in God through Jesus. Pray for those who are fools, that God will give them the wisdom they need to recognise Him.