Monday, June 11, 2012

Sunday Recap: "Foolishness"


The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)


Remember the old "Karate Kid" movie (the original, not the remake)? Daniel Larusso was in trouble. He needed to learn karate. He needed the power to defeat his enemies and the wisdom to know how to do it. So he went to Mr. Myagi and asked for help. And what did he get? "Wax on, wax off." Foolishness!

Maybe you're in need of help. You're dealing with enemies like loneliness, depression, addiction, financial struggles, relationship struggles ... You need the power to defeat these enemies and the wisdom to know how to do it. So you turn to God. And what do you get? A man bleeding to death! 



It seems like foolishness. The man had such potential: the power to heal people ... the wisdom to teach people. He attracted a huge following, and he could have accomplished anything--but instead, he walked right into the middle of his enemies, refused to defend himself, and basically allowed them to put him to death. How much wisdom is there in letting yourself be killed? How much power can you have when you're dead?

The message of the cross is foolish to some, but to others it is the power and wisdom of God. Why? For one thing, the message of the cross says, "You're a sinner." Some say, "That's foolish--I'm a good person. Stop judging me!" Others say, "You're right. I've messed up."

And the message of the cross says, "Jesus didn't fail. He gave his life willingly to pay your sin debt." Some say, "That's foolish. What does a man dying 2000 years ago have to do with me?" Others say, "I get it. He took my place. He did for me what I was powerless to do for myself."

To accept the message of the cross requires humility. It means confessing sin and asking Jesus to save you. To live the message of the cross requires doing things that seem foolish: like being meek instead of aggressive; like being poor in spirit instead of self-confident; like making peace instead of arguing; like loving your enemies; like giving control of your life to somebody else.

If you're struggling with an enemy (such as depression, addiction, relationship problems, etc.) then maybe the smartest things you can do are two things that seem very foolish--the spiritual equivalent of "Wax on, wax off." First, accept the message of the cross and the humility that comes with it. Second, live the message of the cross in your daily life, in all your dealings with other people. Accept it. Live it.

These may seem foolish at the time, but in the end they will pay off. Do you remember that scene where Mr. Myagi reveals to Daniel that all the time he was waxing cars, sanding floors, and painting fences, he was really learning karate? Because he did what Mr. Myagi told him to do--even thought it seemed foolish--Daniel received the wisdom and power he needed to defeat his enemies and prevail in the end.

Accept the message of the cross, and the humility that comes with it. Live the message of the cross and the foolish things it requires. Accept it. Live it. See if it's not the wisdom and power of God.

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