Proverbs 12:1 To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction.
Proverbs 5:23 He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness.
A good friend of mine and I were on a retreat together and he shared with me about the three kinds of people in Proverbs:
1. The wise man
2. The foolish man
3. The naïve man
I understood the first two, but was intrigued by the last one, ‘the naïve man.’
The naïve man lacks insight into the world around him and is someone who has no experience with much of anything and is open-minded toward everything. It’s like P.T. Barnum said, “there’s a sucker born every minute.”
There is another word that is associated with the naïve man, and that is credulous.
Credulous means having or showing too great a readiness to believe things.
Other words that are associated with credulous are gullible, impressionable, over-trusting, exploitable, dupable, easily deceived, and easily taken in.
Some might ask what is the difference between the foolish man, and the naïve man? The foolish man knows better or has knowledge and refuses to respond to it, while the naïve man is just ignorant.
So how does our enemy Satan use this naïveté? Scriptures tell us that his focus is to rob, steal, and destroy everything in our lives that is connected to God.
John 10:10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
If we are a naïve person, we will be open-minded and be gullible about the lies Satan tells trying to get us to compromise our service to God.
The Ephesus Church in Revelation Chapter 2 is a great example of naïve people. They were Christians who spent their time perfecting their ministries to detect evil behaviors and theologies. When they suffered they were determined not to quit. They were disciplined and focused people following Christ. Yet, in their naïveté, they worked hard perfecting what they do for Christ but failed to keep Christ in their sights as a priority. Would you call this being naïve? I would because they traded their ministry activity in exchange for keeping Christ as their priority. The doing for God became more important than God Himself. This is what Jesus was saying when He said, “you have left your first love.”
This is where the stealing, killing, and destroying from our enemy takes on more meaning for the believer in Christ. We always assume that all of Satan’s activity focuses on getting us to do evil behavior, but the subtler approach he uses among believers is to preoccupy us in doing good things for God while failing to prioritize Him in everything we do.
We can do lots of things in the name of Christ, and often it’s not for Christ at all … it has more to do with the reputation we acquire by helping those less fortunate than ourselves. The late David Wilkerson said, “the last days will produce Christless churches.” In other words, we can do a lot of things that help people without ever mentioning the name of Christ. I think this is very naïve thinking, since God multiplies resources, brings healing and miracles into being, and is the greatest asset of any organization.
Let us not forget that being naïve is not a positive attribute in any setting. When it comes to compromising our faith or incorporating ideas that conflict with His message, I think we are being naïve to think that God doesn’t care. He does care, He explicitly said, “no other gods before me,” whether they are by culture or are created as good marketing ideas. Placing God lower on our priority list is compromise, and compromise is being naïve when it comes to dethroning God in your life.
This wise man that Proverbs speaks about is one who never loses sight of God being in his life. The wise man prioritizes God as the most important element in his life and pursues Him with a vengeance. The foolish man knows that God should be important but refuses to give up the things that keep God at bay. He will live in torment for his folly of rejection of God.
The one good thing about my explanation today is that you will no longer be naïve about God and His importance in your life. You now will move into the top two other categories, because now you are no longer naïve. Since you are no longer naïve, you move to either ignore it and become foolish, or accept it and become wise.
See how reading a blog can change your life?
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler