Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Fool Hardy

"We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised." I Corinthians 4:10

Some weeks ago, I asked the Lord, "When are you going to bring about a change?  When are you going to stand up and let your power be seen to put down all the mockers, for your name's sake?"

He then asked me, "Is it truly my name that you want vindicated or your own?"

That really made me to stop and think.  I realized that there was truth in what God said (of course).

I truly desire to see God's name glorified and to have His power seen because He is worthy of all praise.  I also realize that this is the only way in which souls will be saved (I Corinthians 2:4-5).  Yet, a part of me was also tired of looking like a fool to others.  This - being concerned with how others see you - is an example of pride and I had to repent.     

One of the most viscous type of minds which adamantly stands against Christ is the Greek "educated" mind.  This is in part why I think Jesus tells us that we must become as little children in order to receive His kingdom (Matthew 18:4; Mark 10:15; Luke 18:16-17).  The education systems of this world raise people to be humanists.  Unless the hand of God is upon you to safeguard your mind, you will graduate from these institutions as an educated fool, believing that man himself has become a god by obtaining knowledge (Genesis 3:5). To such persons, the very idea of faith in God and obedience to His word is ludicrous.  We can see this as evident even in the days of Jesus.  It was the educated religious leaders who sought to persecute & silence the "unlearned" disciples of Christ.

In recent years, I have spoken with numerous professionals - the top in their fields - as they looked down upon me and chastised my professed faith in Christ.  "How foolish", they have told me, "to ignore their expert advise and choose instead to be led by this God."  Yet, it is not the anti-christ mind in these individuals which concerned me, but any remnants of that mind in myself.  Why would I care what these individuals thought unless that spirit still had some influence over me?

When we think of pride, it is easy to visualize someone puffed up, but what about the insidious and more subtle ways in which pride presents itself?  What about the pride which makes us ashamed to speak up and confront error? Makes us prefer to go renegade versus submit Godly authority?  Makes us unable to receive correction?  Or as in my case, makes us tire of being seen as fools for Christ?

Another common way in which this can trip us up is in deliverance.  I remember in the early days when I first began to see the casting out of devils, I thought, "Wooo...I would never want anybody to see me like that!  Yelling, face contorted, laid out on the floor, coughing up mucus..."  Well, you know what?  Such persons will never get delivered! I am not saying that all of those manifestations are necessary to receive deliverance; you can be delivered with no outward manifestations at all.  However, I am saying that your preoccupation with how you look to others will be a hindrance to receiving deliverance.  You will never let the Holy Spirit have His way because you are trying so hard not to look foolish before people.

"Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence." I Corinthians 1:25-29

The Bible is clear that we should not be as fools (Ephesians 5:15; Titus 3:3; I Peter 2:15); but it is equally as clear that we may appear as fools to those in the world.  When such offends us, it is because our flesh is trying to steal from the glory of God.

It is righteous to want vindication against the enemy (Psalm 58:10-11, 74:9-10; Luke 18:7-8; Revelation 6:10), and there will be a day of vengeance. The Lord will also stand up for and defend His people with a mighty arm (Numbers 116:28-35; I Kings 18:36-38; II Kings 1:11-13, 2:23-24; Psalm 105:15; Revelation 11:5).  However, it is not our own flesh or pride being defended, but His righteousness.  We must have a heartfelt desire to see Christ as Lord over all (II Corinthians 10:6).  If the flesh gets offended at the prospect of appearing foolish before men for Christ's sake, then it is evidence that we have not decreased enough so that Christ may increase within (John 3:30).

"But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." Jude 1:17-21

As the days grow darker, the mockers will increase.  Yet, don't be offended by this or dismayed; it is written.  These are the days in which we must be building ourselves up. These are the days of perfecting.  God is taking time to purge His Bride in preparation for His return (Ephesians 5:27).  There is no thing too small as God examines every nuance, every thought, and every desire to ensure it is in line with His will.  This is His mercy and grace so that we will be able to stand and withstand in the evil day.

Jesus became of no reputation (to the world) so that He could glorify the Father, and we must likewise do no less.  If we are to glory in anything, let it be in Christ alone.

"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing." II Corinthians 12:10-11

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