Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 18, 1969
NUMBER 20, PAGE 7b-8

Acting Foolishly

Walton Weaver

Ephesians 5:17 says, "Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understanding what the will of the Lord is." It should be observed that "foolish" is in opposition to "understand." Foolish means "without reason; senseless, foolish, stupid; without reflection or intelligence; acting rashly" (Thayer). To understand means "to sit or join together in the mind; to understand" (Thayer). Thus, one acts foolishly when he acts without reason. When one acts with understanding he uses his intellectual faculties in making decisions. In verse 15 Paul demands that — we act wisely in contrast to unwisely by looking carefully as to how we walk. In verse 16 he says we should redeem the time, take advantage to the full, or buy up the opportunity, "because the days are evil." His point is, then, that we must, since the days are evil, use our intellect to determine what the Lord teaches us to do.

In Paul's day the days were evil because Paul was in prison, and since Nero was on the rampage the persecution of Christians in general was beginning. In our day the days are evil because secularism is the ruling influence, religion is becoming less spiritual and more formal, thinking is becoming more skeptical and rational, and the way of life in this country is more of a sensual worldliness than godliness.

Many of the Lord's people often manifest their foolishness in these evil days. Their lack of understanding as to what the Lord's will is for them is quite evident. They have time to make full use of their opportunities to attend ball games or various club meetings. Many have enough interest and time to participate in various youth activities, such as Scouting. Others use much of their time for golfing, fishing, or hunting, and many of our church members bowl once a week. In most cases a great deal of our time is taken in watching T.V. and entertaining guests. None of these activities, of course, is wrong in itself, but we must be careful lest we make ourselves a fool with regard to any one or more of them. Some of our brethren act foolishly regarding them because they show more interest in them than they do in the Lord and His work. In absolutely too many cases those who manifest a great deal of interest and use a large portion of their time in the activities mentioned above are irregular in their church attendance and totally indifferent toward other Christian duties.

There should be, however, no question as to what the Lord's will is in this matter. Jesus said, "But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness...." The Christian has no other alternative if he would do the Lord's will. The kingdom and God's will must come FIRST! This is, we admit, a very fundamental matter and is understood by all. But, at the same time, the fact remains that too many of our brethren are failing at this very point. Seeking God's kingdom and righteousness includes a number of things. It includes praying, studying, visiting the fatherless and widows, teaching others, singing, breaking bread, giving, assembling together, and living a godly life. All of these things have to do with kingdom business, and they must be done by all who are in the kingdom.

Furthermore, the doing of kingdom business is something that must be done regularly. Christianity is our way of life. It is our all. Each duty we have to perform as a Christian is just as much a part of our regular activities as eating each meal at the proper time each day. Because we are Christians (if indeed we are!) we yearn to pray and study God's work each day, to teach others the truth, to help the unfortunate, to sing praises to God, and to live the godly life. We find much joy in assembling together with other Christians for worship and study, and to share with others the great riches we have in Christ.

To seek first the kingdom of God means that "the affairs of this life" are secondary with us. Making a living, sports, entertainment, or social activities, while they have their place, must not be our primary concern in life. We must not show more interest in them than we do the Lord and His church. God's kingdom and His rule in our heart must be the most important things in our life. "Therefore by their fruits ye shall know them."

In this day and time religion is thought by many to be old-fashioned and out of date, decisions are based more on human reason than divine revelation, and the minds of men are more sensual than spiritual. In this kind of world, when everything is moving fast, our brethren who are so indifferent toward the Lord and His church need to slow down enough to get their balance and take perspective as to where they are headed. The road to hell is paved beautifully with ease, indifference and pleasure that sometimes seem very innocent. We live in just that kind of world in which even the strongest Christian must keep his mind on the things above if he is to win the crown.

But the fool will go ahead in his foolish ways! For, after all, "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged" (I Cor. 2:14). "Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understanding what the will of the Lord is."

— 1324 Boyte Cove, Memphis, Tennessee 38128