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August 1, 2021 | Javan Shashaty
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“But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”—1 Corinthians 2:14 (NKJV)
“It’s like talking to a brick wall.”
“This is going in one ear and out the other.”
As a girl, my parents said these words many times, and I’m guessing I rolled my eyes a time or two. (Sorry, Mom and Dad.) But in my defense, I was young and foolish. Now that I’m a parent, those words take on new meaning and application. But when I read what Paul wrote to the Corinthian church (and to us), those words, which may have slipped out of my mouth as a parent, only help me to understand more as I share the gospel.
What Paul means in today’s verse is that natural man (i.e. the unbelieving person), leads a self-centered life. There is no desire to understand spiritual things; furthermore, without the Spirit of Christ within a person, the gospel makes little sense. I like how David Guzik explains it: “It would be wrong to expect the natural man to see and value spiritual things, just as it would be wrong to expect a corpse to see the material world.” The dead can’t see, the foolish can’t perceive.
Solomon penned quite a lot about the foolish person. And all of them go back to the idea that foolishness leads to disaster, sometimes even death. Of course, someone who knows Christ and is filled with the Spirit values God’s wisdom, and we want this for all people.
Jesus would often call out, “Those who have ears, let them hear!” He was speaking to those people who believed in Him, but He did it for the benefit of all who were in ear shot. Why? Because He knew the power of God’s Word. He knew that His Word does not return void. So, He called out to the masses even if some didn’t understand.
In Matthew Chapter 7, Jesus lays out a litany to help us understand whether we are foolish or not, whether we are true disciples or false. For Jesus, it wasn’t a matter of hearing, it was doing (vs. 26).
I place this before me, and I challenge you: Are we simply hearers of the Word or doers (James 1:22)? Moreover, when we present the gospel, we must remember the power is in the Word; it is God’s will to open ears, eyes, and hearts.
DIG: What does God mean by a foolish person? How does this differ from your definition?
DISCOVER: When you read Matthew 7, specifically verses 26-27, do you think of anything you are building in your life that is setting you up for a great fall?
DISPLAY: Solomon writes that “through wisdom a house is built” (Proverbs 24:3 NKJV), and Paul writes that we are “God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:9 NKJV). Ask yourself if your building is reflecting God’s wisdom.
Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.