18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;
22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;
23 And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s. (1 Cor. 3:18-23)
What does it mean to be “foolish”? It means to not be knowledgeable of, to know nothing of that particular situation. It means to be unwise to. We are called upon to be fools in this world, that we may be wise with God.
A few weeks ago our nation went through the heat of a national election and, as is normal with any election, there was a lot of passion going around. After the election, the temperature rose even higher, with claims of election rigging, etc.
All this is normal with any election, of course. What is not normal is born-again believers becoming engaged in such furores. But, unfortunately, I saw a lot of such engagement in our country during the last elections. Brethren-in-Christ were so partisan! It was shocking to see believers so engaged in matters of this world. It appears that, particularly when it comes to politics, believers want to be involved right up front.
But the Bible says that our partisanship should only be in Christ and His heavenly Kingdom.
Politics is worldly business, not heavenly. And politics has a lot to do with our earthly rights, the very rights of which Jesus said we should deny ourselves. When we engage in political partisanship, it nearly always has to do with protecting our rights. And we can hardly call these rights spiritual.
It is the same with worldly activism of any sort. Be it political activism, environmental activism, or black lives “matter” activism – any kind of worldly activism is of the flesh. During His lifetime, our Lord’s nation, Israel, was in virtual slavery to the Romans. But we never read one word of any form of activism, ‘civil’ or otherwise, coming from the Lord. And we all know that the Romans did not handle the Israelites with kid’s gloves.
Jesus did not engage in the activism of this world simply because His Kingdom was not worldly, but spiritual. This is the same Kingdom that we have been born into as born-again believers. We therefore have absolutely no business with the ‘rights’ of this world. When it comes to our rights in this world, we have nothing. Try talking about rights to the Christians who are being beheaded for the gospel’s sake in the Middle East. They have been stripped of any right that they have, even the right to life. But they have Christ, and that is enough. Indeed, we consider them blessed. Christ is our final reward, not anything of this world. Not even our lives. There are certain gospels, chief of which is the prosperity gospel, that teach that our reward is this world and its things, including money. That is a monstrous lie.
Notice the Bible says that all things are ours, including death. There are a lot of bad things that are ours also, including suffering – suffering of many different kinds. The Bible says that all things are ours.
Indeed, were we to understand it, we would realize that this is an incredibly glorious scripture. For, apart from present things, whether good or bad, this scripture talks of other, more glorious things. For example, “…things to come; all are yours”.
Do you know “things to come”?
Let us attempt to interpret “all things are yours”. Firstly, it is that believers will undergo both the good and the bad in this world. We are free to enjoy the good; but we should also be equally free in our spirits to persevere in the bad (Job 2:10).
Secondly, it is that all the things of this world, including the things that we might undergo, are under our dominion. We have victory over them! This is because our spirits – which have been surrendered to Christ – have victory over all these things, for Christ has won us the victory in the Spirit.
But how about us? We are Christ’s! There is nothing that is above us, except Christ. And Christ is God’s. Is it not wonderful that nothing above us other than Christ? Is it not incredibly wonderful that we are Christ’s and, ultimately, God’s? It is an incredible thought indeed.
Having the mind of this world, and being knowledgeable in worldly affairs is not of God. It is of the flesh, and of the world. It comes from the deep, carnal lusts of the flesh.
This lust after worldly knowledge and worldly involvement comes about because people have not crucified their flesh, or carnal nature. They want to know the world because, although saved, they are still men and women of the flesh.
These lusts are what need to be crucified. Such a man or woman will have many other lusts, because they have not crucified the flesh.
Brethren, we have an astonishing inheritance awaiting us in the Spirit. Let us crucify the flesh, and accept to be foolish in the ways of this world, that we might be wise in spiritual matters. We are to know nothing in this world – except Christ.
True knowledge – true wisdom – is to know the will of God. And you cannot know God’s will while you are in the flesh. Knowing God’s will means walking in the Spirit, bearing the fruit of the Spirit. That is why we need to crucify the flesh.
Personally, I thank God for our nation, Tanzania. There is so much peace and stability, in contrast to many other countries in the world. There is comparatively so little internal strife.
This is God’s desire for every nation. It is the Biblical standard for every nation on earth. The purpose is for all people to hear the gospel and be saved. The Apostle Paul writes:
“1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:1-4)
When I look at my country, Tanzania, I find I have an environment wherein I can share the gospel freely and peaceably. I pray fervently that God may continually grant this nation this state of affairs.
[Below: To be a Christian is to be foolish in this world]