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Flying Forward from Foolishness


Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.


Ephesians 5:17[1]


I bet all the money in my pockets that as you look back on your life, there were times when you did something stupid. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb at all when I say that.


Think about your 15-year-old self; what you did, what you thought, what you said. Now, am I right? I can’t speak for you, but when I look back at my 15-year-old self, I hang my head. I’m just so embarrassed at how I acted towards my parents, my teachers, my friends, my God.


Now, think about your 25-year-old self. You’re getting better. You’re somewhat wiser about life. You’ve changed. You’re not such a bonehead about life as often as you were at 15.


Hopefully, the same can be said the longer you live. Every so often you can look back and see that you’re not quite as foolish as you were when you were younger.


The percentages keep moving in the right direction. At 15 you were foolish 75% of the time. At 25 it moved to 60%. At 35 if fell to 45%. And so on.


But there is always room for improvement. There’re always times that we just jump into something foolish. Someone does something that just ticks us off and we explode. We act out, we lash out, we yell out.


That’s why Paul is writing to the Ephesians. They were currently involved with foolishness in their lives. Not just some silliness, but sinful words, thoughts, actions, and attitudes. They were actively acting this out on a daily basis.


They weren’t thinking about their daily lives. There was no stopping and seeing what they were doing. There was no thinking out how this looked to God. How it impacted others. No time for reflection.


No, they just jumped into foolishness with both feet. I don’t know about you, but right now my mind is buzzing about so many times that I’ve jumped into foolishness without thinking about God’s opinion about it. I didn’t stop to think how Jesus might act in this situation. What would he say?


And what’s God’s direction about this foolishness? It’s two-fold.


1. Stop. They are currently acting foolishly. They’ve been acting foolishly for a while, and they are currently, actively being foolish.

2. Start. They are to understand what God’s will is. They are to replace foolishness with looking at life from God’s perspective.


They are being ordered to understand life, seeing and believing that God has it all under control. He not only sees and controls the big picture, but he also sees and controls all the details of life. He not only sees all the puzzle pieces, but they are under his control. He will put them together in his time, making an incredibly beautiful and powerful picture.


I have a dear friend that was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Our deeply heartfelt prayer for him started with asking God to direct him to doctors. When he was preparing for treatment, we prayed again. This time, we asked God to direct the medication to just the right places, impacting just the right cells.


You see, God is so big, so mighty, so powerful, and so intimate that he can handle it all personally for you and me. From the big things right down to the smallest of things. From the huge life-changing decisions that come once every 10 years to the things that happen so many times each and every day. So, with this understanding of who God is, what do we do?


Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.


Psalm 55:22 NLT


We are to give God any and all of our burdens. We are to hand them off to him. We are to throw them off us and onto him. We are to fling them off, letting him catch them.


That’s our job – throwing. Throwing them off. Throwing them away. Sometimes we try throwing them away on our own. Sometimes it’s working all day long, not leaving any time for something else. Sometimes it’s alcohol or drugs to numb the pain. Sometimes it’s pornography to distract us from our deep hurt. Sometimes it’s cutting, inflicting outside physical pain to make us look in another direction.


But not just throwing them anywhere. When we throw them off, we need to aim at someone. Someone we think can handle it.


We are to aim our burdens at God. When we throw off a burden to God, we’re saying we can’t handle it. We’re saying that God can. We’re acknowledging that God is our loving, all-powerful, gracious God that never drops what we throw to him.


Noodling Questions


  • Do you consider yourself to be a foolish person? Why? Why not?

  • How has God moved you to stop certain thoughts and actions?

  • What has God replaced the “stops” with? What “starts” are changing your life?

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all Bible references are from the New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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