1 Corinthians 1
Wisdom is a concept that has been found in all cultures for all time. Wisdom in the ancient biblical sense is to reflect on God and obey Him with reverential awe. Wisdom in the 21st century western world stresses wise money investing in stocks with a look towards retirement. “Wise” thoughts have shifted from contemplating who God is, to “how can I make my life as comfortable as possible?” I’m not suggesting that wise investing is bad by any means, but there is a wisdom that goes beyond our capabilities to reason. True understanding and wisdom comes from God Himself, and is vastly superior to earthly human wisdom. This is a concept Paul explores in the first chapter of 1 Corinthians.
“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” (1 Corinthians 1:18). There has never been a clearer distinction made in the Bible between wisdom and folly. The good news of Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection and the coming kingdom of God, is foolishness to a world that is dying. There’s a total lack of understanding of the meaning of the cross to a world that doesn’t receive it. When we don’t understand something, our general first reaction is to pass it off as foolish. I fell into this trap for many years of my life.
I was raised in church, but my family stopped regularly attending when I was nine. It eventually turned from a sporadic attendance to not attending at all. As I grew older I was informed of things that were happening at the church that I grew up in that shouldn’t have been happening: misconduct to say the least. I grew cold towards God because of actions that I wasn’t even aware of. Not being aware was somehow worse to me. I audibly said “if that’s how Christians are going to act, then I don’t want to be a part of the church”. I became lukewarm at best, and I was essentially an agnostic in all but name. The word of the cross became folly to me.
When I was a sophomore in High School, I met Josiah Cain. We became friends very quickly, but it didn’t take me long to find out that his dad was a pastor. I was skeptical, but I remained friends with him. For three years, God worked on me through Josiah, and after those three years I eventually agreed to attend a single service at his church: Lawrenceville. The service at Lawrenceville was a refreshing church experience. The message was relatable, the pastor was down to earth, the environment was relaxed. It felt right and I was thankful that I was there. It didn’t take me long to realize that I had based all of my assumptions on church and putting my faith in God on a bad experience that I had. That in and of itself branded me as foolish.
I began to attend Lawrenceville regularly. I came forward and accepted an altar call on Resurrection Sunday in 2013. The next month I was baptized. I was beginning to realize the word of the cross and what Jesus accomplished for me. With my original church experience I was only thinking of myself. I realized after being baptized that the good news of Jesus is not about what I feel and about what I can get out of it, but what God has accomplished through his son. The word of the cross ceased to be folly to me, and it became the power of God that was saving me. Nine years later, I’m a pastor (which is still wild to me) and it’s because of the faithfulness of God and the intentionality of Josiah. Folly was worked out of me and wisdom into me.
It is easy to lose patience with those that don’t understand the power of God through the cross. We must be patient, for the good news about Jesus is foolishness to a world that doesn’t understand. When something doesn’t make sense to us, we resent it and want nothing to do with it. When the patient understanding of a friend comes alongside us, there comes understanding. God is working through us to reach the lost around us. We must realize that God has the power to change a folly mind to a mind that gives Him reverential awe. Let’s be the people through whom God blesses the world through His wondrous working power.
- God is working in and through us to reach the world. We as God’s people need to be ready to come alongside those who think the good news of Jesus is folly.
- Only God can change the minds and hearts of people, but God has chosen us to be His instruments. We must be ready to share the good news of Jesus with those around us. Who will you share the good news with?
- Reflect on God and be thankful for what He has accomplished through the cross of Jesus Christ for us. The word of the cross is the power unto salvation for all those who believe.