Wise Guy (1 Corinthians 3:18)

Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise.

1 Corinthians 3:18

It is a simple matter for me to get full of myself. A few good decisions; a few times I listen to God and things go well and my flesh wants to preen like a peacock. Funny thing about those birds? They are some of the dumbest creatures I have encountered. So, too, am I when I think I have it all together and have this whole life thing on lock down. Paul says that I deceive [myself] when I think that way.

The solution to my puffery and mind rot is to recognize myself for what I am: not that wise. The word used is sophos (σοφὸς) and can mean anything from wise to skilled or expert to cultivated or learned to forming the best plans and using the best means for their execution. Anyone who knows me knows that the list just given does not describe me. I have some learning, but not nearly enough to be considered learned. I am far from cultivated. I am skilled in some things, expert in almost none, and I seldom form the best plans and even less frequently use the best means to execute those plans. I am, in all candor, not a planner. I am not sophos. And that is awesome. God’s instruction, through Paul, is that I recognize that I am not sophos or that I become moros (μωρὸς) — i.e. understand that I am a moron when compared with God — if I am unable to recognize that I am not sophos. But a cursory examination shows me that I am far from sophos and that being thought of as a moron compared to God might be overly generous.

What is the result of this? Well, having a right view of myself produces reliance on God and His wisdom and planning. Since He is eternal; outside of the constraints of space and time, His plans will come to pass and I can rest assured that He intends only my betterment. I do not say He intends good for me, because good is too subjective. He intends my betterment; to make me better than I am — He intends to conform me to the image of His Son. There is nothing better than that. The side-effect of reliance on God is that my life will have all the hallmarks of a life lived by a wise man. I can rely on my own meager stores of wisdom and will, at best, look like a wiseguy. Or I can rely on God and let Him show off His wisdom in my life, making me appear to be a wise man. Wise man or wiseguy … the choice is mine and the choice is made by depending on God or myself.

I choose God.


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