What kind of smarts do you need to be a Christian? Business acumen? Academic acclaim? Skills based on physical work and experience? Charisma and people skills? Empathic emotional perception?

Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise.

1 Corinthians 3:18

Paul was in the middle of rebuking the Church in Corinth for their sectarianism and divisiveness when he issued this warning against so-called wisdom by worldly standards. Why? Because division only came about by the misapplication of human intelligence and discernment against others. God gave us the ability to judge what was right, not as a way of dividing but as a means of self-assessment. They prided themselves on their high-minded ability to choose the “right” teacher from three equally valid options! After all, Paul emphasized, there was no real teacher but Jesus. All others were servants of Him.

So what do we do with our wisdom and experience in this world? We make it subject to Jesus along with us. Rather than turning it against others, we use it to build up the Church. Rather than using our smarts to pick our team and compete, we recognize the place that our various abilities have in the church and put that to work for Christ.

Don’t fool yourself; you’re not smart enough to divide what God decided to make whole.

Ethan Kirl