Don't Be an April FoolBy Joe Stowell on April 5, 2019
April is the month that begins with jokes …
I've had a lot of April Fools' jokes pulled on me, and I must admit that I've pulled off a few pretty good ones myself. But one thing I've noticed: no one likes being called a fool, much less being made to look like a fool. We like to think of ourselves as savvy, wise and sharp—not easily tricked or duped. But when we measure ourselves by God's standards, we might be surprised at how much we deserve the title.
Did you know, for example, that the Bible says we are fools if we ...
- spread slander (Proverbs 10:18);
- think we're right in our own eyes rather than listening to wise counsel (Proverbs 12:15);
- reject our father's discipline (Proverbs 15:5);
- delight only in revealing our own mind rather than in understanding (Proverbs 18:2);
- are perverse in speech instead of walking in integrity (Proverbs 19:1);
- quarrel instead of keeping away from strife (Proverbs 20:3);
- always lose our temper (Proverbs 29:11)?
As our text tells us, the ultimate fool is one who lives as though "there is no God" (Psalm 14:1). Notice that the verse does not say that a fool says with his mouth "there is no God." It's a matter of the heart attitude. In fact, it would be quite possible to say with your lips that there is a God but then to have your heart think and act as though God does not factor into your dreams and choices at all. When our heart says that there is a God, we readily obey Him and surrender to His will and ways in our lives. Though it's not always easy, a God-honoring heart is willing to begin the process of forgiving those who have deeply hurt us; to think of others as more important than ourselves; to choose generosity over greed; and to be sensitive to the needs of the poor and oppressed.
One of the most penetrating "fool" passages in Scripture is recorded in Luke 12:13-21. Jesus told the parable of a rich businessman who had more wealth than he knew what to do with. After signing the papers for corporate expansion (bigger barns), he congratulates himself and decides to throw himself a party. Everyone in his town would have said he was a smashing success. But God had a different take on him: "You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?" (Luke 12:20). Jesus concluded with the point: "So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God" (Luke 12:21 ESV). It is indeed foolish to be satisfied with our own wealth and to have given no thought to becoming rich toward God by preparing for eternity, or as Jesus said to become rich toward God by giving our money away to the poor and to those in need (Luke 12:33).
When we recognize the rightful place of God in our hearts, our lives are wonderfully transformed to enjoy the rewarding results of wisdom—life from God's point of view—rather than the embarrassing outcomes of a godless, foolish heart.
I hope you get to pull off a good April Fools' joke this month. In fact, you may even have a good-natured laugh at having one pulled on you. But, while all that is going on, don't forget to honor God's will and ways in your heart. Life is too short and too serious to live it as a fool!