Why would anyone think they are smart enough to out smart God?
Well, I believe the MSG paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 3:18-20 offers an appropriate response to this question and it reads; “Don’t fool yourself. Don’t think that you can be wise merely by being up-to-date with the times. Be God’s fool—that’s the path to true wisdom. What the world calls smart, God calls stupid. It’s written in Scripture, He exposes the chicanery of the chic. The Master sees through the smoke screens of the know-it-alls.”
Self-deception is the action or practice of allowing oneself to believe a false or unvalidated feeling, idea, or situation is true.
Paul was exhorting the Church not to deceive themselves and to tread carefully in relying on their own wisdom.
Paul was not literally encouraging the people to deliberately aspire to be a fool rather, he is merely saying that the one who is truly wise is the one who realizes that he is a fool. Only that kind of person is able to learn anything. The one who thinks that he/she knows-it-all doesn’t think that he/she has anything to learn.
It’s incumbent upon us not to fall prey to the ignorance of false wisdom. Therefore, it’s imperative that we listen to what Paul has to say here about the foolishness of human wisdom (which is intellectual pride) and the true wisdom that the world sees as foolishness–the wisdom that only God can give. Yes, I know God’s way may look illogical to the world, but God isn’t looking for our logic. He’s looking for our trust. And when we trust God, He will bless us!