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Paul was a fool according to the standards of men. Had he remained a Jewish rabbi, he could have attained great heights in the Jewish religion. Or had he sided with the Jewish legalists in the Jerusalem church and not ministered to the Gentiles, he could have avoided a great deal of persecution. But when Paul asked the Master Jesus, “What will You have me to do?” (Acts 9:6) he really meant it.

The Corinthians were wise in their own eyes, but they were actually fools in the sight of God. By depending on the wisdom and the standards of the world, they were acting like fools. The way to be spiritually wise is to become a fool in the eyes of the world. I often find myself quoting those words of martyred Jim Elliot: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

  • 1 Corinthians 4:10 (NASB) — 10 We are fools for the Messiah’s sake, but you are prudent in the Messiah; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor.
  • 1 Corinthians 1:26–31 (NASB) — 26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no man may boast before God. 30 But by His doing you are in the Messiah Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Master.”