Missionaries who have given their lives for the cause of Christ. Women who have sacrificed their bodies to birth and raise godly children. Families who have trusted God for every penny and provision.
In the early parts of his letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul places a great deal of focus on the difference between wisdom and foolishness. It's clear, after reading the first several chapters, that God has a different perspective of wisdom than man does.
No matter how many educational degrees I acquire, God will always be wiser. No matter how many hours I spend strengthening my body in the gym, God will always be stronger. Clearly, we know this truth, don't we? Yet, do we live our lives in this truth?
The apostle Paul was no slouch. In the letter to the Philippians he acknowledged his top-notch pedigree--he was a Pharisee of Pharisees, a Hebrew of Hebrews, a zealot, persecutor and blameless law-keeper. But all these worldly esteems were as dung to him. Is that a word you use daily? Maybe I should say that all these accomplishments were as valuable as a six-foot high pile of stinky, poopy baby diapers. That might resonate with us a little better!
How could Paul believe this? How could the fools for Christ in our modern age believe this? Certainly they should've used some common sense. Why didn't they trust in their own understanding of how things should be? Couldn't they see that living as a fool for Christ was nothing but dumb foolishness to the world?
These men and women lived in the shadow of the cross.
When everything in our lives is compared to what Christ accomplished on the cross, our greatest wisdom and understanding is put to shame.
- Jesus defeated our sins on the cross: The sins we've committed, the sins we're hanging on to, the sins we're begging Him to conquer, the sins we're in the midst of battling.
- Jesus accomplished our righteousness: We no longer have to live in condemnation, listen to accusations, remember our past sins, and feel that old guilt. We can live boldly, confidently, and joyfully!
- Jesus satisfied the wrath of God: We can live in this crazy upside-down world remembering that this is not our home. One day we will enjoy eternity with our Father God and He will wipe away every tear from our eyes; there will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. All pain will be gone for all of those things will have passed away!
The apostle lived in the shadow of the cross. Martyrs lived in the shadow of the cross. Men and women with a crazy-faith today are living in the shadow of the cross. They have believed that God's promises are true. He has never disappointed them.
What would your life, your marriage, your relationships, your job look like if you lived in the shadow of the cross?
May we realize that the cross is not merely a past place of substitution; it is also a present place of daily execution--the execution of pride, and the execution of boasting in men, and the execution of self-reliance, and the execution of the love of money and status and the praise of men. (John Piper)
What would your life look like if you lived as a "fool for Christ?" Can we pray for the courage to endure the scorn of the sophisticated world? What is holding us back?