One thing that grieves me as a Christian is seeing on television someone who is beautiful, or is a great baseball player, or who had made a fortune in business, or who has made the winning goal in an important soccer game or who is a great actor or actress interviewed about how to conduct life in general, as if he/she understands all of life. Just because someone has success in one area of life does not mean that he/she has any spiritual wisdom. On secular television, how seldom do we see someone who has genuine spiritual wisdom sought out for advice? Scripture makes a distinction between spiritual wisdom and natural wisdom and says that the person without the Spirit neither accepts nor understands the things of God. 1 Corinthians 2:13,14 says, “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
There is a vast difference between worldly and spiritual wisdom. The person without the Spirit, the unregenerate man, does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God and he thinks that the things of the Spirit are foolish. He has rejected God and so he rejects those things which come from God. There is a moral dimension to his rejection of God. Romans, chapter 1 says that these people “suppress the truth by their wickedness.” (vs. 18) Their rejection is deliberate and active – they neither glorify God nor give thanks to him. (vs. 21) As a result, it says, their thinking becomes futile and their foolish hearts are darkened. (vs. 21) We should not expect godly wisdom from those whose thinking is futile and whose hearts are darkened.
God turns knowledge and wisdom on their heads. What we know as wisdom – knowing God and thinking the way that he thinks – is foolishness to those who are perishing. God chose the foolish things of this world to shame those who think themselves wise by the standards and reasoning of this world. The only way that those without the Spirit can come to know God is through the illumination of the Spirit. Those who are without the Spirit, the unregenerate, will merely think that the things of God are foolish. It takes a quickening of the Spirit for these people to come to Christ and that quickening comes about as a result of our prayers for them. Our response to these cultural icons ought to be prayer, not admiration.
In the United States we are increasingly listening to foolishness, then are grieved when we see our culture becoming more foolish. The reason that we see our culture disintegrating is that there are increasing numbers of those who have rejected a knowledge of God and therefore they are given over to do those things which ought not to be done. Romans 1:28-31 says, “Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.” The inevitable path of those who reject God is ungodliness in their attitudes, values, worldview and behavior. Only when people come to Christ can they be renewed in their thinking and have their lives transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit within them. The solution to our cultural disintegration is spiritual, and it begins with listening to the right voices. We, as believers, need to be listening to what scripture says, not to cultural icons who are sought out for advice about everything under the sun. We are not going to silence the voices of foolishness coming from the media, but we do have a choice as believers to listen to and base our lives on spiritual wisdom, not worldly wisdom.