1 Corinthians 1:20-25
Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?  For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.  Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,  but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,  but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
I want to talk about WISDOM and where it can be found. As a Deacon and Shepherd, I get asked a lot of advice about all kinds of issues.
We are going to dip into the book of Proverbs, written by Solomon son of David and considered to be the wisest man on earth.
The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:  for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight;  for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair;  for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young—  let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—  for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding.  I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching.  For I too was a son to my father, still tender, and cherished by my mother.  Then he taught me, and he said to me, “Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live.  Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them.  Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.  The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.  Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.  She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown. ”  Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many.
This is what I would have needed to hear. My Father’s instruction was, unfortunately, the opposite of this. He encouraged foolishness, he encouraged unfaithfulness in my first marriage and I paid a price that stayed with me for years. It followed me into my marriage to Sybil causing us all kinds of problems. We were both re-creating the problems that caused our first marriages to fail. Fueled by our selfishness we lacked trust, commitment and honesty, for example.
I share this just so that you realize that the fountain of knowledge is not me. Instead, it is the Bible – the wisdom of God at our fingertips. All we have to do is embrace it.
The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin.
When I got challenged on my character, I would become a chattering fool, trying to deflect the attention, usually towards Sybil. Luckily, they never let me off the hook. Because I needed it, I was wise in my own eyes.
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.
The wise store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.
Do you learn from your mistakes? I’ve seen too many disciples repeating the same mistakes and then expecting a different outcome. Learn and change! Read Proverbs and let it move your heart. When God keeps telling you you’re a fool you should sit up and take note. God’s trying to help you to change. Or are you too proud to accept God’s help?
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.
How many times have I let pride get in the way of clear thinking, it’s very hard to be wise when you being proud. The Bible is clear God opposes the proud. Do you want to be in opposition to God? Do you have unresolved issues with anyone? Do you think it’s all their fault why should I be humble? I’ll tell you why: Don’t let God have to humble you. As it says with humility comes wisdom.
To be wise we have to be disciplined, we have to put the effort in to be able to change, to stop repeating the mistakes of the past, being prepared to accept discipline.
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.
God does not pull his punches. I never liked discipline. I never liked being corrected, instead, I thought “who are you to tell me?” That was my attitude, I might not have always said it but I thought it.
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
I was lucky that I had wise men helping me but their wisdom came from The Bible, not their opinions. They would point me to the scriptures and let The Bible discipline me. The good news is it works. Read it and put it into practice! It did bring healing to me and Sybil, I have never felt more content or at peace than I do now. I’ve never been happier in my marriage to Sybil. We became best friends over the years, but only because we developed a bit of wisdom and learned from our mistakes. It’s The Bible that guides our marriage with the help of Godly advice from good friends and much prayer.
Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
Be careful who you go to for advice. Don’t go to someone who doesn’t have Christian standards, who doesn’t know the Bible or God. You might as well flip a coin. Seek wise people out, we have them here, I know because they have helped me. The opposite applies: Walk with the foolish and … you fill in the blank.
Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.
People who care about you will tell you what you need to hear not what you want to hear. I have had disciples who have been upset with me when I gave them advice that they didn’t like. Be careful who your friends are, I have had some terrible people in my pre-Christian life advising me. I’m not talking about your accountant or your doctor or dentist. I’m talking about your heart issues, your walk with God. Your spiritual life. Go to people who will challenge you when it’s needed, but who will also walk with you as you face those challenges.
Let’s go back to our original passage in 1 Corinthians 1:20-25.
- God has made foolish the wisdom of the world.
- He will frustrate the intelligent.
- Where is the philosopher?!
- We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block, foolishness to the world.
- Christ is the power and wisdom of God.
- The foolishness of God is wiser than the wisest and the weakness of God stronger than the strongest.
- Don’t look to this world for wisdom, don’t look to the people you work with or go to college with to give you advice about spiritual matters.
The Bible – here is wisdom, here is truth, here is power, here is life!
More by Roger Spence