|1st Corinthians - Wayne Barber/Part 27|
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©1998|
|When you ask someone how tall he is, he can immediately respond. Do you know why? Because there is a standard by which he can measure himself. But when you ask somebody how beautiful or how handsome they are, that becomes a matter of one’s opinion. It is the same way when you ask somebody how wise you are. What man calls wisdom is foolishness to God. A man can deceive himself quickly in this area by thinking himself to be wise.|
1st Corinthians - Wayne Barber - I Cor. 3:18 - Beware of Self Deception - Audio | Audio Version]]
I Corinthians 3:18
Beware of Self Deception
You know, when you ask someone how tall he is, he can immediately respond. Do you know why? Because there is a standard by which he can measure himself. When I was growing up, my mother used to measure me on the door frame of our kitchen. She had it marked off in feet all the way up to the very top. We would mark how tall I was and write down how old I was and the date when I was measured. So, all the way growing up, I knew exactly how tall I was. There was a standard by which I could be measured.
But when you ask somebody how beautiful or how handsome they are, that becomes a matter of one’s opinion. Whose standard are you going to go by? The saying goes, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Now if somebody asks you how beautiful you are or how handsome you are, that is a matter of your opinion as compared to somebody else’s opinion.
It is the same way when you ask somebody how wise you are. You see, wisdom is a quality that cannot be evaluated so quickly and so effectively. What man calls wisdom is foolishness to God. A man can deceive himself quickly in this area by thinking himself to be wise.
Now, get back in the context. The apostle Paul is still addressing the immature church at Corinth who would rather attach themselves to men than attach themselves to Christ. He has already told them that God works through all men, not just preachers, and therefore they should attach themselves to Jesus so that God can work through them, and one day He will test those works by fire.
Then he warns those who would corrupt the church. I think he still has this in mind as we go into our text. After warning those who seek to corrupt the church, to defile it, to bring it to a worsened state, particularly by the means of deception, now he warns them, “Do not deceive yourselves.”
Look at verse 18: “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become foolish that he may become wise.” Now you see that is for any man, Christian or nonChristian. It is a warning. Christians, beware of self deception. Anyone can fall into this trap.
The Cause of Self Deception
There are three things that I want to show you concerning this self deception. First of all, the cause of this self deception. What causes a person to deceive himself? Verse 18 reads, “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become foolish that he may become wise.” The word for “deceive” is exapatao. It comes from ek, out of, and apatao, to seduce or to deceive. In other words, to lead out of the right way and the truth and to lead into error. Actually, in this sense of the word, to actually walk out of truth and to walk over into error.
It is a present active imperative verb. Present tense means it is a pursuit, not just a onetime thing. A person always seems to be prone to go this way. Active voice means is by his own volition. Nobody made him do it. He may have been deceived to go that way, but he made his own choice. And now he is headed in that direction. Imperative here means it is a command. Don’t do this, in other words. Don’t be a person like this. Don’t be a person who constantly pursues the wrong way, walking out of truth and walking into error.
Self deception is something that is different than being deceived by someone else. You can be deceived into self deception if you are not careful. Self deception is what you do to yourself. Now, if self deception is being lured out from under truth into error, what is it that is so magnetic and so attractive that would cause believers to go that direction? Well, we know first of all that it is a common thing to all of us. He said, “If any man among you.” This could happen to anybody. It is something that every one of us has to deal with.
Secondly, it involves how we think of ourselves. He says, “If any man among you thinks.” The word “think” there is a present indicative active dokeo. Here it has the idea of one’s personal concept of himself. He is walking around with this mindset of himself. So be careful, there is a mindset involved here. It is the way you think from within concerning yourself.
Think what? “If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age.” Here it is. That is the main characteristic of self deception. Thinking you are wise in this age. The word for “age” is the word aion. Sometimes it is translated “world,” but that is wrong. World is kosmos. It has something else to say, which we will see in a later verse. In this verse the word is aion, which means there are ages within ages. Each age has specific characteristics about it. It is the way the world thinks, the way they think during this age. All of the characteristics of all of the ages are similar here. All of it has the same basic likeness. It involves the way we think of ourselves as being wise. And when we buy into this mindset, when we start thinking of ourselves the way the world thinks of itself, look out, we have walked out from under truth and we have walked into error.
Paul has already discussed the trap called worldly wisdom that is characteristic to every age. Again, it has to do with the way the world thinks of itself. Look back in 1:19. Let’s just make sure we have done our homework here. He has already addressed this. This is the way the world thinks of itself. They proclaim themselves to be wise, Romans says, and therefore they became fools. In verse 19 of chapter 1 it says, “For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.’” God said, “I will destroy it.” I mean, totally annihilate it.
Then he calls it the wisdom of the age in verse 20 of chapter 1. This is the way the world thinks of itself. He calls it the wisdom of the age. “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” The word for “world” is aion. The wisdom of this age. Has God not made it foolish? So he calls it the wisdom of the age. It is also the same as fleshly wisdom. If you want to know what he is saying here, wise as the world is wise, it is a fleshly wisdom. It is how they think of themselves, not how God thinks of them.
Look in 1 Corinthians 1:26. He says, “For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble.” So what we see here then is a wisdom of this age, a wisdom of the world, a wisdom of the flesh, a fleshly wisdom. Paul is saying this is deceptive because this is something that they think of themselves, not based on how God thinks of them. Ask them, “Are you wise?” They will tell you in a minute, “Yes, I am wise.” Paul says, “Don’t fall into that trap.”
Paul has been talking about wisdom, teaching and the works that man does. Now, doing these things can lead to a worldly pride. Be careful. The more you learn, in other words, of what you study, all of a sudden you can become wise in your own estimation based on what you think. Or it could be pride of what you have done. God could have enabled you to do great things and used you in powerful ways, but somehow you adopted the world’s thinking and you think you are somebody because that has taken place. You may be proud of what you have. God may have blessed you in a very successful manner in the world and you think you did that yourself. You have become proud as the world would view wisdom of this kind. Buying into this kind of wisdom is the epitome of self deception. That is what Paul is trying to help them to understand. It will cost you in your reward one day. It will cost you one day when God tests all of our work by fire. It will not stand, because this is fleshly wisdom.
There are people out there who are trying to corrupt us and defile us. The way they do it is they come across with their way of thinking, and if you buy into it, it is going to be the epitome of that self deception. It was obviously the trap that was set for the Corinthian believers.
Let’s just illustrate this for a minute. Maybe you take a Bible study course. All of a sudden you have all of this knowledge in your head. Man, are you ever biblically literate! And you come across as, “I am a smart person. I am a wise person. Why, I have been in a Bible study!” You have fallen into the very trap Paul is warning them against, because you don’t know anything unless you are living it. And if you are living it, it is God giving you understanding. You never boast in what you know, you boast in what God has revealed to your heart.
You can easily fall into this trap. You can adopt the world’s way of thinking when it comes to wisdom, when it comes to pride. You think you know something as a result of all of that. Perhaps God has used you in something else. Maybe you have been on a mission trip. Maybe you are a pastor. Maybe there is a congregation that has grown large because of your being there. But one day you fall into the trap. And the trap is, from within, you start thinking that you are indispensable. You are the one who built this church. I tell you what, folks, that is rampant in the day that we are living in. They are having conferences all over our country on how you can build a church, how you can organize it. You do, you do this, you do this, you do this and you can have a great congregation.
But it has nothing to do with man’s wisdom. It is what God does. God is the one who builds His church. Man cannot build His church. All man can do is attract a crowd. God builds His church. But you can fall into the trap of estimating your wisdom based on what you can see and count and feel rather than how God looks at a matter.
In the first century in Corinth, all you had to do to insult a Greek was to question his wisdom. The Greeks were proud of their wisdom. As a matter of fact, the apostle Paul was perfect to be in the slot that God put him in because he was born as a Greek and he understood that mentality. He had the intelligence to deal with it. But all you had to do to insult them was to question their wisdom. A Greek would rather be poor than stupid. He would rather be a criminal than be known as a fool. The Corinthians were proud of their wisdom.
But look at what the apostle Paul is doing here. Paul is saying, “Hey, don’t fall into that trap.” He is a Greek. He understands the way they think. He is saying, “The height of self deception is to consider yourself wise in the age in which you live.”
Now before we leave this, look in 3:19. He changes a word here. He uses another word for “world” instead of aion, which is age. In 1 Corinthians 3:19 he says, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God.” Now the word for “world” here is the word kosmos, which is different from aion. Aion should be translated age and has a different meaning altogether. Kosmos, however, has to do with the material things of this world that we live within.
You see, the people of the world, when they are wise according to the world (and that is called foolishness by God), they base their wisdom on that which they can see, that which they can count. In other words, a man is considered to be wise if he has made a lot of money in this world. He thinks himself to be wise if he has done that. The people who are the billionaires laugh and make mockery of the church, but they call themselves wise. They say, “I know I am wise. Look at the kingdom that I have built. You can see it. You can count it. You can read my bank account, you see.” How many things have they really done? You see, God is the one who has actually done it. They think they have done these things. They count themselves by how others think of them.
We think wisdom comes by how many degrees one has. Vance Havner said, “I speak with these people who have a D.D. and a Ph.D. and an L.D.” He said, “You know, they are just a bunch of fiddledeedees if you ask me.” But I tell you what, there are people who are so proud of those degrees. When you walk into their offices, all you see is plaques. It is not wrong to put them on the wall, but some people think they are wise because of that degree. They can see it. They went to school. They paid the money. They passed the course. I am wise according to the world.
God said that kind of wisdom is nothing more than foolishness before God. When a man thinks himself to be wise based on the standard of the material, the standard of what you can see and touch and feel, that man is a foolish man. Paul is warning the church, warning the believer, “Don’t fall into this kind of self deception.”
I have a friend in a Eastern European country whose church grew very large under persecution. When I met him the next time, I began to sense pride in his life. I began to sense something I didn’t sense before. Back under persecution, back when they were sufferings, I sensed humility. I sensed desperation to get hold of God. But then when I met him later, I began to pick up that he has fallen into the trap that you and I can fall into. Success must mean we are wise. No, it does not. That is what Paul is saying.
The lure, the attractiveness out here is that I can look to myself as being wise. The accolades of people can make me think, “Wow, I really know something. I have done something.” I tell you what, that is the epitome of self deception. Don’t deceive yourself by walking into their trap. Don’t start looking to what you know, what you have done and what you have and considering yourself wise because of it. Friend, the world looks at wisdom differently than God looks at it. God calls the world’s wisdom foolishness. Well, I guess you could say, the reason we are attracted to it is because our flesh loves it. Our flesh loves it.
Don’t you dare think yourself wise in the midst of all that is going on. I tell you what, when you start thinking yourself as the world considers themselves wise, you are literally using the wrong materials to build the building which one day will be judged by fire, and it won’t last. It will not stand. So whatever God has done, whatever you have, whatever you know because of God’s revealing it by the precious Holy Spirit’s power, give God the glory back and say, “I would never have known it had it not been for God.” Because if you fall in that trap of worldly wisdom, it will defeat the very purpose for which God has come to live in your life.
The Cure for Self Deception
Secondly, we see the cure for self deception. Maybe you have fallen into that trap. I have fallen into it. All of us are susceptible to it because it is so magnetic, the lure of the way people think rather than what [[God]] thinks. In verse 18 he says, “Let no man deceive himself. If [hypothetically] any man among you thinks he is wise in this age [evidently somebody fell in this trap: he thinks he is wise], let him become foolish that he may become wise.” Look at the phrase, “let him become foolish.” The word “become” is an aorist imperative, ginomai. It means become, properly translated there. The aorist there has the sense of just do it. Stop talking about it. Make up your mind. You know the truth, now just do it. You become foolish. You do it.
Middle voice, it is middle deponent really. It has the active sense. Make up your own mind. Don’t make somebody tell you. You know good and well that this kind of thing is human wisdom and that is foolishness to God. Now you become foolish.
What does “become foolish” mean? Now wait a minute, the context will rule here. The word “foolish” is the word moros. We get the word moron from it. Isn’t that exciting? The context rules. Foolish as the world would view foolishness. In other words, when you step off that pedestal, the world is going to call you a fool. “What do you mean, man? You know you did it. I mean, give God a little bit of the credit, but you know you did it.” That is the way the world thinks. But when you become foolish, it means as they see foolish. God will see it as wise, but the world will see it as foolish. You must admit the foolishness of ever thinking you are anything outside of Christ. You have got to come to that place.
I tell you, that is a humbling thing in our life, isn’t it? To come to the place that we are nothing outside of Him. We know nothing outside of Him. We have nothing outside of Him. We can do nothing outside of Him. To admit that before others. In 1 Corinthians 4:10 the apostle Paul talks of him and his compadres. He says, “We are fools for Christ’s sake.” Paul said that. Did you know that Paul was the most intelligent man, other than Jesus, in the whole New Testament? You talk about a man who could draw a crowd. Remember, we looked at this back in chapter 1. At one time they thought he was one of the gods, the particular god who was the voice of all the gods because he had such a speaking ability. When he spoke, they said, “Oh, the gods have come to visit us.” Paul was an intelligent man. Paul had that Socratic method of reasoning and he would come in amongst them and wouldn’t threaten them right off. He wouldn’t tell them where he was going. He would kind of come up alongside of them and say, “This is great.” Then he would start asking questions and lead them to come to the conclusion. He would never have to say another word by asking the right questions at the right time. A brilliant man! He could handle any kind of situation. Yet he calls himself a fool for Christ.
You see, he understood something now that he didn’t understand before. For years of his life, he thought the message of Christ was foolish. As a matter of fact, to show you how foolish he thought it was, he was out to defeat and kill Christians. He stood there when Stephen was stoned to death. Then he was on his way to Damascus, breathing threats against those he would arrest in Damascus, but he got arrested on the Damascus Road and God met with him and blinded him for three days. After those three days, he was never the same. I mean, here is a man who was wise in his own estimation, a man whose religion had really helped him profit. He had a lot of gain because of it. But now that he is a Christian, now that he has met Christ, he realizes how foolish he really was all of that time. And now he calls himself a fool for Christ’s sake.
Turn away from thinking yourself wise in the standards of the world and the flesh. You start doing that by realizing how everything you have is nothing more than a blessing that comes from God. Everything you do is nothing more than what His Spirit living in you energized you to do. Everything that you have, everything you know, everything that you do, all of it comes from Him.
The wisdom of the world and the way it thinks of itself is amazing. “Hey, look what I have done. Look at my stock market receipts. Look at my investments. Look how they have paid off. Hey, man, I am a wise man in this world.” And God says, “Baloney! That is foolish.”
So, the way the world thinks of itself, the standards by which they come to the opinions that they have formed of themselves, don’t fall into that trap. It can happen to you in a moment. It can happen to you when good things happen in your life, but you have adopted from within. Nobody told you this, but you adopted it from within. Wow, I must be wise. You have adopted the very philosophy of the world by saying what you have said. You see, only what God does ever counts in our life. That is what will be rewarded one day when we have our work tested by fire.
The Caution for the Self Deceived
Then third, we have the caution for the self deceived. They need to understand a principle about God, a truth about God that will help them down the road. It says in verse 19, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, ‘He is the one who catches the wise in their craftiness’; and again, ‘The Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless.’”
What in the world is Paul talking about? Well, when one thinks himself to be wise, this has come from within. I want to make sure you understand. A man loves what he is much more than what he has. And if this wisdom is not from God, then all that he thinks he is, is foolishness when put next to God. A man must humble himself and admit what he does not know before he can become wise before God.
Now, the wisdom of this world, according to verse 19, is foolishness before God. The word for “before” there is the word para. It means in the closest proximity to someone. In other words, when you take all the wisdom of the world and put it over here as close as you can get to God, next to Him and His wisdom, it is absolute foolishness, you see. And therefore, it will not stand the test. What the world thinks of itself and its wisdom is foolishness next to God.
“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, ‘He is the one who catches the wise in their craftiness.’” He quotes out of Job 5:13. Remember Job’s life was quite difficult. There is a principle in this that shows you how man’s wisdom is really foolishness when it comes to dealing with God.
The word “catches” is only used here in the New Testament. It is the verb drassomai. It is in the present tense. Now, this tells you something about the character of God. The word means that He seizes, He catches, He grasps by the hand, He lays hold of, or you could say, He traps in His net. The verse implies that this seizing, this grabbing hold of, this trapping in His net, catching is part of the character of God because it is present tense. He is always doing this. He is about this all the time.
Now what is he saying here? This is really interesting to me. You see, He sees the wise in their own estimation. He knows who they are and the world’s wisdom. And He quickly moves to seize him in His hand to expose him. Now this craftiness here really speaks of a lost person because a lost person is just a crafty person. He may be wise in the world’s eyes, but he is underhanded. He will use methods that a Christian would never use in business. He will do whatever he can do to cheat the income tax to get his money. That is the way the world gets their things and that is the way they proclaim themselves to be wise. But God knows that, and God is watching the crafty. He knows what they are doing. It is like a crafty scoundrel or a criminal who is arrested. God arrests him. He grabs him, then exposes him and punishes him accordingly. In other words, God does not allow the world to get away with what they call their worldly wisdom. That is part of his character. He moves quickly to do that. It is crafty reasoning by which the wise put their deceitful wisdom across and rob men’s souls of Christ and believers of their reward one day in heaven.
Remember, he said look out for the ones who seek to corrupt My people. We talked about that earlier. How do they do it? These are those crafty people. They can lure you into their trap, oh, folks, in a minute.
I remember one day we were going out witnessing. We drove up in this man’s yard. Everybody told me, “You will never get anywhere with this guy.” So I drive up in his driveway, get out of the car, and the guy is outside watering his yard. He sees me and he says, “Wayne Barber!” And I am thinking, “Oh, here we go.” He said, “I have been looking for you. You are just the man I wanted to see.” Oh, no! We walk inside and he was a part of a certain organization. I won’t get into all that, he had brochures of what I could have and all this kind of thing. I could be financially free, etc. But I was already financially free.
He started telling me all these things that I could have. I had to finally stop him. I said, “Sir, I want you to know, I have been cut free from all that.” He said, “You don’t want any of that stuff?” I said, “No, I don’t want it because when you have it, it costs you more than you ever dreamed that you were going to pay for it. You never have it. It owns you.” He looked at me totally perplexed. I said, “As a matter of fact, I came over here to offer you something way beyond that. I came over here to share Jesus Christ with you.” His wife was sitting in the room, and boy, he just turned his whole body away from me. You know how people do when you are talking to them and they don’t want to hear you. I mean, he just turned away from me. His wife, though, didn’t. She was sitting over there with big tears in her eyes.
I looked at him and I said, “Can I speak to your wife? Is it okay?” And he said, “Sure.” I said, “I sense that you are listening to what I am saying. Would you like to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior?” She said, “Could I? Right now?” I said, “Can you!” And she got down on her knees and I got down on mine with her on the floor and she began to pray and she broke. You know, folks, if you have never led somebody to Jesus, you have missed one of the greatest experiences of your life. It is not really you leading them to Jesus. It is Jesus using you to draw them.
She began to pray, and I could tell that had tenderized her husband sitting over there. After she finished, I looked over at him and I could see the mistiness in his eyes. I said, “Hey, would you like to receive Christ?” He said, “Man, could I?” And he got down on his knees beside his wife and received the Lord.
I thought that was the most interesting thing in the world. He already had his scheme. He already had his plan. But God was way ahead of me. As we walked in there, God showed him that what he was pursuing wasn’t worth anything. It wasn’t worth pursuing. But what God could offer him was worth everything in his life.
But I want to warn you, there are people in this world who sound good. They have got a wonderful scheme of how to get you into whatever it is they are trying to lure you into. But if it gets you off track from your simplicity of trusting Christ, from your simplicity of living by faith, you have fallen into the trap that Paul is warning the church of Corinth about. Corinth was famous for this kind of thing. He was warning them, “Look out. They are crafty. They know what they are doing. Be careful. Don’t let them lure you into their trap. It is crafty reasoning of the wise in this world.”
The one that people look up to, the ones who are on television who talk about instant success stories. It is the craftiness of these people that lure precious believers out of a faith walk and trusting Christ and obeying Him into that which the world calls wise and God calls foolish. But the fact is, God catches these people in their craftiness, in all of their schemes. He exposes them. By the fact that He catches them like He does and exposes them like He does is the factual evidence that His wisdom completely outranks theirs. And nothing is more convincing than that. God will show you, give Him time. He will show you the futility of what the world says is wise. He will catch them in His net and expose them. And then their punishment will be as a result of what has been exposed in their life.
The verb drassomai implies speedy action. He seizes the opportunity. When he sees somebody working in worldly wisdom and craftiness, He seizes the opportunity to immediately move on that person. Normally He will allow them to go ahead and do what they are doing so once they have sinned, He will use that sin and turn it right back against them and expose them and bring them down from their platform they put themselves upon. God’s net catches man in his fleshly wisdom.
Paul wants the Corinthians to understand this so that they will realize that these people in Corinth who are trying to lure them into this type of thinking, these people are already caught by God. So why in the world would you want to go that route? You will be caught also. Come back to living and walking by faith. And they will have no excuse before God.
In 1 Corinthians 3:20 he quotes out of Psalms 94:11. Now look at this. He says, “and again, ‘The Lord knows the reasonings [that is an interesting word there] of the wise, that they are useless.’” Now, when the world has somebody out there they have built up, they say, “This man, now, he is wise!” [[God]] knows the reasonings of the wise that they are useless. [[God]] knows the logic. [[God]] knows the intelligence man thinks he has. Before man ever does anything, before he even has to move to catch him in His net, [[God]] already knows what he is planning to do. [[God]] knows how ineffectual it really is.
The word “useless” is the word meaning having no aim, empty of any beneficial result. The ineffectiveness of these wise men is illustrated, I think, so beautifully in the gospels when the Pharisees, by their schemes and their plots and their tricky questions, tried to trap Jesus. Jesus had already trapped them because He knew their schemes. He knew their logic. He knew it was useless and had no end to it. Therefore, He would turn it around. Every time He would turn around they tried to trap Him. The only reason they ever asked Him a question was to trap Him. But Jesus already knew that. Jesus would turn a question back to them and in one or two words make them look stupid before the whole crowd, showing everybody that His wisdom is far beyond the wisdom of what man says is wise. God’s wisdom exposes the world’s wise men as fools. Paul wants the Corinthians to keep that in mind.
You know what? There may be an application here, I am not sure. I haven’t really sat on it long enough, meditated on it long enough, but I think there is an application here. Because I know in my own personal experience, when I have fallen into that trap, God moves quickly to expose me, even if He has to humiliate or embarrass me, to show me the futility of going that way. And I thank Him for doing that. I wonder if it is not an application even of what He is saying right here. Because the wisdom of the world is something God detests. If we are not going to live by faith, God quickly moves to expose those who try to work in their own wisdom.
Well, whether it is found in your own mind – how you think of yourself – or maybe in the teachers you have attached yourselves to, whatever, the world’s wisdom is foolishness in God’s eyes. It is a trap. Don’t be self deceived. Don’t allow yourself to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think. Never brag on what you have. Never brag on what you can do. Never brag about what you know because that has nothing to do with eternity. God looks at all of it and says, “You would not know anything if it was not for Me.”
Look at Jeremiah 9:23. From time to time, we have brought up this verse. It is such a precious verse. It just shows you the tendencies of man, the wisdom of the world, but again how foolish it really is. Really, verse 24 has to be read with it so we will understand the difference. He says in verse 23, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches.’” Now, that is what the world does, but he says, “Don’t you dare do it. Don’t you dare do it. Don’t boast of what you know. Don’t boast in what you can do. And don’t boast in what you have. Don’t you dare.” But in verse 24 look at what he says. “But let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me.”
Verse 21 of 1 Corinthians 3, the first few words say, “So then let no one boast in men.” Now remember the context. Why in the world would you attach yourself to a man? If that man is anything it is because God made him that way. You attach yourself to Christ and become a vessel through which Christ can do His work. Remember, don’t fall into this trap of thinking you can do anything apart from Him, that you can know anything apart from Him or that you can have anything apart from Him. That kind of wisdom is foolishness. God already has a trap set for you. It is a net that He is going to grab you in and expose that kind of wisdom because His wisdom is far above that which man could ever have.
One of Aesop’s Fables tells the story of a lottery that Jupiter held for all the gods. And it happened that when they spun the wheel as to who would win the lottery, it fell upon his daughter, Minerva, and he gave his daughter the prize, which was wisdom. But some of the people who were standing around said, “Hold it, hold it, hold it. How convenient that the wheel fell on your daughter. It was rigged.” So Jupiter, to appease the crowd and the doubters, instead of awarding her wisdom, awarded her folly. The myth says, from that time on fools thought of themselves as the wisest among men.
Take that home and chew on it. Because friend, when a person thinks he is wise, he is a fool. When he boasts of anything other than Christ, he is a fool. He is a man who thinks of himself in a way that God does not see him. Don’t fall into that trap. That is why we have to live by faith, trusting God minute by minute because we know nothing can do nothing apart from that which He reveals and that which He energizes in our life.
Therefore, the building that we are building will be the right kind and will stand the test of God’s judgment one day. One day we will not be ashamed when we stand before Him. I hope 1 Corinthians is ministering to you like it is to me. Has it ever been a blessing to my life.