“As dead flies cause even a bottle of perfume to stink, so a little foolishness spoils great wisdom and honor.” (Ecclesiastes 10:1)
No one wants to be accused of foolishness. We all desire to have others think well of us and often feel great embarrassment when we do something that could be perceived as foolish. These days the Internet and social media have made it easy for certain types of our follies to be displayed the world over, ensuring that our errant behaviors, whether accidental or intentional, are available for ready recall at any moment. I grew up before You Tube and I am certainly grateful for that!
But You Tube moments aside, some of our foolish behaviors are not so easily seen by others. Decisions made in the quietness of our own hearts can be some of the most consequential of all our actions. Hidden only in the recesses of our minds, some of our more foolish choices are guarded by their less than obvious nature. Whereas our You Tube moments are readily recognized by ourselves and others, how do we recognize when the deeper decisions we make are also foolish?
No one can answer that question for you in every circumstance, but below are some questions that might help you decide for yourself whether or not you have been, or are being, foolish. Please read on:
“Only fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.” (Psalm 14:1)
Question: Do you believe there is a God?
“But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)
Question: Do you understand the truths of God?
“These wise teachers will fall into the trap of their own foolishness, for they have rejected the word of the Lord.” (Jeremiah 8:9)
Question: Have you rejected the word of the Lord?
“The wise don’t make a show of their knowledge, but fools broadcast their foolishness.” (Proverbs 12:23)
“Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom.” (Psalms 111:10)
Question: Are you humble, exuding a quiet wisdom that stems from knowledge of God?
“Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.” (Proverbs 18:2)
Question: Do you tend to voice your opinions strongly or do you seek input from others?
“O Lord, what great works you do! And how deep are your thoughts. Only a simpleton would not know, and only a fool would not understand this: Though the wicked sprout like weed and evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever.” (Psalm 92:5-7)
Question: Do you recognize that those who live only for themselves will perish?
“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.” (John 1:8)
Question: Do you claim to be sinless?
“The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)
Question: Do you believe the message of the cross?
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him.” (John 3:16-18a) We all instinctively recognize in ourselves things for which we are not proud. We have all taken actions that we later regretted; perhaps we know we’ve hurt another person unjustly, or we’ve taken something that didn’t belong to us, or we’ve disobeyed our parents, harbored hatred toward another, had lustful thoughts, or otherwise behaved in a way that we regret.
Sure, if we compare ourselves to others we may justify ourselves and find ways to rationalize our actions, convincing ourselves we aren’t so bad; but over time all these regrets have a cumulative effect and we often find ourselves weighed down by the burdens of our past mistakes. And this is not surprising for when God says “don’t” he means “don’t hurt yourself”. But this same God who provides guidance we often ignore, also provides a way for us to be redeemed: “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
And wouldn’t it be the supreme act of foolishness not to avail yourself of God’s free gift of grace today? For “if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9) May you find forgiveness in Jesus today!
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