You Can’t Get to ‘Smart’ from ‘Stupid’

by Lester Young

You’ve probably heard at least once or twice the old idiom, “You can’t get there from here.” And though it might’ve been rather humorous at time – depending, of course, on who said it, how and why – you nevertheless were simultaneously aware that it was also one of the most patently absurd statements a body on this earth can make: “How ridiculous! Of course you can “get there from here” – regardless of where ‘here’ is! Might not be able to do it in our lifetime or with current technology, but there’s always a way to get ‘there’ from here – even if only theoretically. We might not understand ‘how,’ but there’s still always going to be a ‘way’.” Yes, certainly there is… and that’s why it’s called a “joke”.

Alright, then; you can actually always get ‘there’ from here, yes? Yes. …No. If you’re dealing with physical locations, sure – there will always be a ‘way’. If you’re talking about spiritual matters, wellll… not so much.

What do I mean? A few basic Scriptures should make it clear: Proverbs 1:7 states, “the fear of the LORD is the beginning (or first step) of knowledge. And Proverbs 9:10 and Psalm 111:10 both declare that the reverential fear of the LORD is the first step of wisdom. In other words, all wisdom and all knowledge begin with acknowledging the validity of God and His Word. And why wouldn’t it? His Word is the very essence of Truth (John 17:17). What would be the real point of ‘starting’ anywhere else? To do so would simply be an exercise in abject goofiness.

Now please don’t misunderstand me: there’s a huge difference between, say, “out-of-the-box-thinking” and stupidity. Innovative, unusual and novel ways of looking at or attacking problems are, in my opinion, actual flashes of spiritual insight given by God, and they’ve spawned all of the truly great breakthroughs in human history (James 1:17). But “stupid” is just plain stupid. However, to the untrained eye (or ear) they can appear strikingly similar upon first encounter.

How, then, do you tell the difference? How can you know what’s stupid, empirically speaking? As it turns out, it’s really not very difficult at all. Just find out what God’s Word says about the issue in question, and if what you’re hearing from another source doesn’t line up with that, it’s ‘stupid’. How can I say that? Because God’s Wisdom and man’s ‘wisdom’ (i.e., the wisdom of the world) not only don’t agree, they’re typically a full 180-degrees out-of-phase with each other (Romans 8:5-8). That’s why the world thinks the things of God look and sound utterly stupid – and vice-versa (1 Corinthians 3:19). And yet the world doesn’t realize that God’s most foolish and outlandish musings are still sooo much wiser than the wisest thought any man has ever had (1 Corinthians 1:25).

Listen: if something starts out stupid, it’s just going to get stupider. It’s not going to somehow down the line work its way back around to ‘smart’. As Ecclesiastes 10:12-13 puts it, “A fool’s speech brings him to ruin. Since he begins with a foolish premise, his conclusion is sheer madness” (The Living Bible).

So to tie this all up in a neat little bow (and probably piss off a few folks): You can’t get to Truth from a lie, you can’t get to Right from a wrong and you can’t get to Just from unjust. You can’t start in darkness and get to Light, and you can’t start in death and get to Life (at least not without Jesus – which actually only strengthens my point [2 Peter 1:19; John 1:1-4]). If you’re taking the world’s wisdom, opinions and points-of-view over God’s, you’re trying to sound smart from a position of stupidity. News Flash, Church: It’s Not Working! You can’t get to ‘Smart’ from ‘stupid’. It’s time to wake up.


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2 Comments to “You Can’t Get to ‘Smart’ from ‘Stupid’”

  1. Very much appreciated. Lester, you know that I love to write. I love to read as well. This sort of concept I see in popular writings. I see evil being made good, dominion being twisted into romantic love and humanism fighting evil rather than man or woman invoking the Name of God to thwart evil. You really can’t get there from here. It’s true. One of my favorite novels is Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The characters in that book fought evil. They lifted their crosses and faced what they couldn’t believe but faced it with the faith of a Christian. Now we see this same concept in the 20th and 21st century but the good guy is bad and the bad guy is good – and I from here I especially worry about our young women. They are becoming disengaged and in turn the young men find them easy picking, I see it and I am concerned. You’ve read some of my work. I strive very hard not to be a “Christian Writer,” I’m not going to go out of my way to write a love story where God is forced upon the scene. I like ghost stories. I read MR James, Edith Wharton, Bram Stoker – because their writing (and I don’t believe Ms Wharton professed Christ) did not blur that line. We need to work on shedding light on evil, stop blurring what is good and what is evil and STOP taking on super powers and lean more on God.
    Thanks Lester for all of your efforts and teaching.

    • Hi, Sandy.
      That’s right: the lines are intentionally being blurred (Isaiah 5:20; Prov 17:15). And since the world has an altogether perverted concept of what’s actually right and wrong, if the Church doesn’t stand up and start boldly expressing it, who the heck will. Who else would even have a reference of what’s truly ‘up’ and what’s truly ‘down’? We do have to shed the Light; we have to be the seasoning for the earth we were told to be in Matt 5:13 — or else it won’t be palatable at all. Thanks very much for your comments and faithful encouragement, Sandy — they’re always much appreciated.
      And yes, I have read your work: very emotional, thought-provoking. You show a lot of your heart, and so of yourself — and that’s very engaging.

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