Foolishness is measured in the expanse between what we learn and what we live.

The Bible is replete with description of and prescription for the fool:
“The fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet; a babbling fool will come to ruin; the mouth of a fool brings ruin; fools die for lack of sense; the way of a fool is right in his own eyes; wisdom is too high for a fool; crush a fool in a mortar with a pestle…yet his folly will not depart from him; the fool and the stupid alike must perish; the fool cannot understand; fools hate knowledge; fools get disgrace; doing wrong is like a joke to a fool; the heart of fools proclaims folly; a fool flaunts his folly; to turn away from evil is an abomination to fools; the companion of fools will suffer harm; leave the presence of a fool; the folly of fools is deceiving; a fool is reckless and careless; the folly of fools brings folly; the mouths of fools feed on folly; the mouths of fools pour out folly; a fool takes no pleasure in understanding; A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating; like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool; whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool; the fool walks in darkness; the lips of a fool consume him; the toil of a fool wearies him, for he does not know the way to the city; the fool speaks folly, and his heart is busy with iniquity; claiming to be wise, they became fools; foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them;; the fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’; O simple ones, learn prudence; O fools, learn sense.”

Our level of personal foolishness is directly proportionate to the span between what we know and what we apply. When we know more than we practice, we play the fool. When we practice more than we know, we play the fool.

“Fools despise wisdom and instruction… everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man.”


Discern - to separate, distinguish between, to detect with senses other than vision, to recognize or identify as separate and distinct, right from wrong, to come to know or recognize mentally, to see or understand the difference.

“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.” Philippians 1

“Though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Hebrews 5

Discernment can only grow by “reason of use,” and this use takes place in the relationship of teaching. Too many Christians today have settled for an incessant role as learner. It is not humility to assume the learner’s position – it is rebellion against God’s call on all his children. Yes, not all should presume to take on the corporate position and responsibility of Teacher, but all Christians are called to enter into the relationship of teaching through the covenant of discipleship. We occupy this planet during an unprecedented time of accessible religious and spiritual information, yet we are plagued with immaturity within Christianity. This enigma is due not to a lack of learning, but rather to the abandonment of teaching. It has been said that the teacher has not taught until the student has learned. It would seem that Scripture adds to this that the student has not learned until he or she begins to teach. We cannot sit in the pew listening to sermons or in the office reading commentaries and expect to experience maturity – the kind of true maturity that is evidenced by discernment. We must commit to the sacrificial and humble discipline of teaching.


Much of our Christian life could be described as trying. Not the “severely straining the powers of endurance” kind of trying, though there are those times. The “to make an attempt at” trying. We try to be a better Christian, try to serve more faithful, try to worship truer, try to give more, try to attend more, try to love more, try to sin less, and sometimes we just try to get by. I wonder if we’re missing the point. My oldest daughter and I took a walk together the other day to address some of these “trying” things. We had walked for quite a while trying to resolve these issues of trying when it occurred to us that God never tries. He simply is. If God never tries and we try to get closer to Him through trying, haven’t we essentially excused God from the process? I’m not questioning the validity of the desire to be a better Christian, a more faithful servant, a truer worshiper, etc. I’m questioning our means of attaining it. We need to stop trying and start being. I think God wants to be with us. I think He accomplished everything it takes in Christ. I think it is our responsibility to embrace who we are in Him and bask in being with Him in the duration of each moment. My guess is that in living this way, God will continue to shape us into that better Christian today then we were yesterday. My guess is that in doing so He won’t have to try. It was at this point in the walk that I realized that, regardless of the issues, I had just spent a significant part of my day walking hand in hand with my beautiful daughter. Oh what joy! The joy of being together. Thank You, Lord.