When we talk about walking in wisdom we need to understand that there is good and godly wisdom and worldly and demonic wisdom. Wisdom, you see, is a perspective. How do we see life? What is our worldview? What determines our outlook and response to both good and bad circumstances?
Godly wisdom starts with a right perspective toward God. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 9:10) From this right perspective then we learn how to view the rest of life. Ungodly, worldly demonic wisdom serves only to warp us (Isa. 47:10) and lead to utter foolishness (1 Cor. 1:20).
If we are to walk in godly wisdom, then we must “look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise.” We have defined wisdom (See Walk In Wisdom) so building upon that foundation we will take a brief moment today to examine the difference between walking as fools or walking as the wise.
Our first step then is to search the Scriptures for the answer to this question, “Who is a fool and what does he do?” “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.” (Psalm 14:1) The fool declares with pride and misplaced confidence that he knows all that there is to know. He has seen all that is, has experienced every possible experience, has studied and comprehended the vast expanse of all of the universe. There is nothing missing from his logic, his knowledge, or his insight.
What does this all mean? It means that the fool believes that he knows enough to declare with assurance that there is no God. But the only way to know that something does not exist is to instead know all that exists. So the fool, the atheist, sets himself up as if he were a god. He claims omniscience for himself.
In reality, deep down in his heart and mind, the fool knows the truth. All men do according to Romans 1:28. There we read, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind.” They decided to deny that God is. They know the truth and actively suppress it. This is utter foolishness. To think, talk, or act as if there were no God. This is to walk as a fool instead of the wise.
The fool refuses to glorify God. They refuse to give Him His due. They refuse even to acknowledge that He is. This immediately leads to an attitude of ungratefulness. What is there to be grateful for if there is no one to whom we are indebted for life and goodness? “Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools.” (Romans 1:21-22)
Their thinking is darkened. Their thoughts are futile. And though they profess to be wise they are in actuality fools. Contrary to their claims about seeking truth and setting up knowledge as the highest achievement to be reached in this life, they are truly ignorant of truth. They have chosen to ignore the truth of the Word of God. They have shunned truth and embraced a lie. They have been willingly self deceived.
How tragic to know the truth and reject it with the way that we live. But then, how often do we in the church do just that? We play the fool. For we know the truth, we understand the Word of God, and yet we do not glorify God, we do not obey God, we do not thank God, and we too become futile in our thoughts and lives. We must walk not as fools, but as wise.
While the fear of the Lord (a right perspective of God) is the beginning of true knowledge and wisdom, fools chose to despise wisdom and instruction. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7) They will not be taught. Unteachable, they are set in their beliefs and will not be swayed by human reasoning, logic, or persuasion. They are convinced of the truth and call evil good and good evil. “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge.” (Proverbs 1:22)
From where is a person instructed in truth? It is the Word of God that is profitable for “instruction” (2 Tim 3:16). It is by the Word that we are taught and lead into all truth. But the fool rejects the Word of God as a fairy tale, as superstitious nonsense. Then again, many in the church approach the Bible with superstitions and hokey ideas about God and the Christian life, don’t they?
Fools despise wisdom and instruction and we see that they hate knowledge. When it comes to true knowledge they would rather be ignorant. Have you ever noticed how complex the mind of man attempts to make things, as if the more complex and fantastic a belief or theory the more plausible it is? Rather than believe that God created all that is they would rather embrace a religion (humanism) that preaches a dogmatic doctrine of impossibility, namely evolution. It takes more faith to believe the lie of Darwinism than it ever takes to trust the sure Word of God.
“Fools mock at sin.” (Proverbs 14:9a) There it is in plain English: fools mock at sin. A wrong view of God and a wrong view of self leads them directly into the snare of disbelief. They cheapen God’s holiness by proclaiming that sin is not bad, evil, and horrid. They believe sin is created by man to manipulate others. And yet all the while they live to indulge their flesh and are enslaved by their own sin that they deny exists.
When it comes to sin, the fools laugh, excuse, justify, ignore, deny, joke, and reject truth. They believe that Sin is watching out for #1, just a way of life, is pleasing and not evil.
How can we mock at sin? Sin is so awful and so unholy that God cannot stand it and must punish it. Sin is so heinous that the penalty for sin, the only remedy for sin, the only wage of which sin is ever worthy is death. It is not a toy with which to be played. Sin is not a game.
The sad truth for the fool, for the natural man, the lost man is that he is incapable on his own of receiving the things of God. “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14) The truth is foolishness to him. A waste of time. An unfathomable mystery. He cannot know the truth! He cannot discern that which is only discernable spiritually for spiritually he is dead, lost, enslaved, and unwilling.
The saved however are able to discern the truth. How tragic when we do not. How terrible when we play the fool and walk as the fool instead of in wisdom. It does not have to be that way. “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.” (Galatians 3:1)
The true mark of a fool is found in how his perspective works it way out in his life. Those who are foolish are those who have a wrong view of God, self, sin, and truth. That wrong perspective leads them into disobedience. This point is made even more clear from the very lips of Jesus Himself: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matt. 7:24-27)
The difference between walking as the wise and the foolish, is the difference between obedience and disobedience. This is the difference between destruction and safety, between contentment and ruin, between life and death. This is not a small matter. If we are to walk in wisdom we must walk not as fools, but as wise. This means we must have the right perspective about God, His Word, ourselves, and sin. And as a result we must see this perspective work its way out in the way we live, motivating us to hear and do what the Word of God tell us.
Let’s face it – we all know those little areas of compromise, those areas where we refuse to surrender, where we indulge our flesh. The wise will surrender these to Jesus. Walk not as fools, but wise. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.” (Psalm 111:10) See God for who He is, and see self for what we are. And then we will stand in amazement that He has been gracious to us and called us to walk with Him in wisdom.
- Bible Gateway with NIV Study Bible Notes
- Walk Not As Fools