The world’s wisdom is often foolish to God. Ephesians 5:17 presumes we know what a fool is and tells us to “stop being foolish.” How can we recognize the characteristics of a fool?
• A fool gossips about others: “Hiding hatred makes you a liar; slandering others makes you a fool” (Prov 10:18NLT).
• A fool has no control over his anger: “A fool is quick–tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted” (Prov 12:16NLT)
• A fool refuses to respond positively to commands, preferring to do things his way: “The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin” (Prov 10:8TNIV).
• A fool can’t be told to do anything because he has never had to be obedient. This leads him to hate his father’s correction. Perhaps the fool’s father thought being kind and loving would make his son a friend, but his son’s foolishness makes his father an enemy (Prov 15:5).
• A fool loves to break the rules. Being obedient seems boring to him: “Doing wrong is fun for a fool, but living wisely brings pleasure to the sensible” (Prov 10:23NLT).
• A fool has no fear of risk and is overconfident about his abilities. He manipulates followers, whom he controls by the fear of his wrath: “A wise man fears and departs from evil, but a fool rages and is self–confident” (Prov 14:16).
We must identify all these characteristics and root them out of our hearts and lives. Then we must help others who give in to foolish behavior.
The second command in this verse is to “be continually being wise by understanding what the Lord’s will is.” The measure of our willingness to be wise is evident in our determination to master His commands and be eager to put them in practice.
“Lord, the more I learn about fools in the Bible, the more I see those traits in myself. I never knew how much pride twisted my thinking in so many ways. Teach me Your ways to think and live.”