June / July 2016 - Vol. 86

 Christ calls young man on
                            street corner
Whose Fool Are You? 
by Tom Caballes

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ… 
Philippians 3:7-8 ESV
Who or what is a fool? He or she is someone who ‘wastes’ his life for his or her cause. He or she may be labelled as ‘stupid’ – or worse. I believe that all of us are fools for something or someone – whether it be for riches, fame or pleasure. We can be ‘fools’ for noble things too – caring for the poor, the environment and the like. We can be fools for ‘idols’ in our lives – movie stars, great athletes, loved ones, etc. But among all these people and things, there is one who demands utter foolishness – that we leave everything behind to follow Him and be fools in the eyes of the world: Jesus. The questions are: are our actions and words truly reflect we are fools for Jesus? Do people find Jesus in us? Can’t we stop thinking, sharing about, singing, meditating and loving Jesus?

So How Do You Grow in Becoming Fools for Jesus?

  1. You must understand that you are never meant to be primarily a people-pleaser, but a God-pleaser first. Jesus was not a people-pleaser. In fact, because He wanted to please God first, He had enemies, who prioritised traditions and man-made rules before God. It is okay if people around you do not approve of what you do or say. It is better to be respected rather than be liked. It is God’s approval you should strive for first.
  2. One way you can truly exhibit your being a fool for Jesus is by growing in His character – the way you speak and behave. People ought to see a difference in you because you are imitating Jesus – His love, forgiveness, self-control, forbearance, patience, and humility, among many of His traits – should be visible in you..
  3. You should ‘preach the word, in season or out of season.’ [2 Timothy 4:2] You should complement your daily living by trying to share your testimony and the gospel to others. Someone needs to introduce Jesus to your friends – will you do it? Do not be worried if they reject you – that is their problem, not yours. You will likely be rejected, but there will be a few who are willing to listen to you and accept your message. The truth is this – the best thing you can do to others is to bring them to Jesus and to His promise of eternal life.
  4. Aim to live a radical life for God. Radical people are the ones who change the world – for better or for worse. Be a transformer of the world around you, not a conformer in the world’s ways. See Romans 12:1-2.
  5. Your life should be a ‘sign of contradiction’ to the world. When they see your life, people should reflect and ask: ‘He/she is living for God. What am I living for? Is life more than just pursuit of wealth and pleasure?’ The way you handle your self should be a mirror to others about how they handle their lives – their ideals, goals and priorities in life; how they handle their relationships and resources; and so on. You are called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world in your workplace, school or university. When your life truly becomes a ‘sign of contradiction’ to others, then perhaps you can then say – “I am a fool for Jesus.”
Other Scripture passages:
  1. I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! [Luke 12:49 ESV]
  2. "You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? ..."You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house… [Matthew 5:13-16 ESV]
  3. Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people- pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. [Colossians 3:22-24 ESV]
  4. Other references: Psalm 63:1-5; Matthew 22:37; Galatians 2:20.
For personal reflection or group sharing
  1. Do I live my life radically for God that people around me call me a fool for Jesus?
  2. In what way am I a sign of contradiction to the people around me?
Tom Caballes is the National Senior Administrator and a National Coordinator of the Lamb of God, a community of the Sword of the Spirit with 7 branches located throughout New Zealand. Tom also leads Kairos New Zealand, an outreach program for high school, university, and post-university aged people. 

Tom and his wife Mhel and their two daughters live in Wellington, New Zealand.

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