Let me begin this post with the dictionary definition of stupid because right now some of us may be ignorant of its meaning… uh, what’s that? I used the word ignorant in my discussion of defining stupid and that seems redundant? Whoa.. wait. Let’s get the cart behind the horse where it belongs then. Here is the the dictionary definition of ignorant:
lacking in knowledge or training; unlearned
versus the dictionary definition of stupid:
characterized by or proceeding from mental dullness; foolish; senseless
So there is a difference between the two – one can be ignorant without being stupid. However, an example of stupidity would be to act as if you have knowledge of something when you don’t. Because that is just plain foolish. For example: a person who has never sky-dived (lack of knowledge of the sport) decides to pack his own parachute and go base jumping from a bridge (very, very foolish – aka, stupid).
I like to characterize that as the highest level of stupidity and have deemed it willful ignorance – choosing to remain ignorant but acting or speaking as if educated in the subject.
So how am I stupid – and how are you stupid?
While I could give multiple societal examples, especially in the political arena, I want to steer this conversation to a topic called sanctification. Whew.. another big word. Let me simplify it this way – its the work of the Holy Spirit in conjunction with teachings from the Word of God to make change in a person to become more like Christ. I know that sounds churchy but it’s a churchy word so I don’t know how to make it less churchy. Yeah, this is one of those posts.
Most people in America can by some form or another, possibly osmosis, create an image of what is expected of a person who claims to be a Christian. That very term creates a checklist of morality that we confuse for godliness and because of our ignorance we strive in our own power to accomplish our task list in order to be acceptable before man. And in our stupidity, we call that sanctification.
It is the highest level of stupidity because we choose not to be educated because we don’t plug into the Holy Spirit and we don’t pick up the bible. Or if we do, we have become so callous to our condition that we don’t believe we can be taught anything new. Don’t believe me?
Ask yourself this question:
When was the last time the bible challenged my beliefs?
Now I am not talking about those times when we recognize a truth that we already know and haven’t obeyed that we agree we should obey – but won’t. That is a whole other topic that we could dig into but I don’t want you to miss the point of this topic. When was the last time you read something in the bible and it shook you to your core because it broke a long-held belief that you had accepted as truth? When was the last time the Holy Spirit said, “You’re wrong”?
Maybe in our cockiness we believe that we have already arrived and there are no new truths to learn about our character in light of God’s word.
In our willful ignorance we are willing to live by our own definition of what Christianity should be not realizing there is no joy in that. Stupidity has consequences like base jumping with no instruction – there may be a short-lived thrill until the realization sinks in that the chute won’t open. At that point the only thing left is desperation.
Know any desperate Christians? Maybe you are a desperate Christian.
Sanctification was never about what we could accomplish. It has always been about what God could accomplish in us through the redemption of His Son, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the instruction of His Word. It doesn’t start with a predefined, mental checklist. It takes humble obedience over a lifetime…. and even then we won’t have learned everything there is to know.
The book of Philemon details the story of Onesimus, a runaway slave. His owner, Philemon, was most likely a wealthy man as he was able to afford to own slaves and his house was large enough for the church to meet in it. In Paul’s letter to Philemon, he had nothing but praise and good things to say about this wealthy man.
So why did Onesimus run away? If Philemon was a generous and godly man, what prompted Onesimus to flee?
I would like to hear your thoughts before I add mine. It’s a short book so it won’t take you long to read it.