“For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God…” (2 Cor. 5:13).
The Greek word translated as “beside ourselves” means, in this context, to be out of one’s right mind, insane, or mad. Because of his zeal for the truth and constant drive to live for the Lord and get the gospel out to the lost, the Apostle Paul was viewed as being crazy. With his fervor for serving the Lord, he seemed like a man out of balance and fanatical to the world.
In Acts 26:4-23, we learn how Paul shared the testimony of his conversion before Governor Festus and King Agrippa. In verse 24 of this passage, we read that “Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.” This statement put Paul in the best of company. People also said our Lord was “beside Himself” and “mad.” Mark 3:21 tells us, “And when His [the Lord’s] friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on Him: for they said, He is beside Himself.” Likewise, in John 10:20: “And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad….”
Being called crazy for the sake of Christ is not an insult, but a compliment for the believer. If people think we’re crazy because we live for the Lord, that’s a good thing. It shows we’re following the Lord and His Word. Following the Lord and living by His Word will make us appear different to the world because we’re not going with the flow and we are not living “according to the course of this world” (Eph. 2:2), and so it seems to them that we’re a bit off and crazy.
Dogmatism, belief that the Bible is absolute truth, also makes people think you’re crazy. Dogmatism is uncommon and unacceptable in a society that demands tolerance. When you say that, based on the Word of God, something is the absolute truth, the world will think you’re crazy. The Word of God, however, is an absolute. It is our authority. When it says that there is only one way to God, and it’s through the Lord Jesus Christ, that’s the truth, and we must proclaim it, even if people call us crazy.
As we follow Paul as he followed Christ (1 Cor. 11:1), we too, like Paul, should have a deep-seated devotion for the Lord, consumed with a zeal for the things of God, living for unseen, eternal things. This will make people think you’re out of your mind, but that’s good. It’s good to be called crazy for the Lord. Like Paul, we remember that if we appear to be out of our right mind because we hold nothing back and are zealous and dogmatic, “it is to God,” it’s to please, honor, and glorify Him.
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.