3:18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”; 20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 21 Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours: 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours. 23 And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
Hero worship. If I could sum up the root of the issue in Corinth it was hero worship. Polytheism had set them up for it but don't think that makes us immune. I truly believe the root of it all for them and us is laziness. If we can hitch our "wagon" to someone we admire who we think has it all figured out we don't have to think much after that. We don't have to wrestle with the hard questions. If something bad happens we can just ask our hero for help. If someone asks a question we don't know the answer to we just refer them to our hero. If there is a controversy and sides are forming we don't have to figure out what's going on, we just side with our hero.
For some of us that hero is a parent. For others a spouse. For others a pastor. For others it may be a friend or mentor. In Corinth church members were lining up behind the pastor/teacher they felt was the best. Like the gods of the Roman Empire, there were many but everyone had a favourite.
Notice Paul's simple argument. No one is wise. All men are men. Don't fool yourself. Just because I or Apollos or Peter can preach a good sermon does not mean we have all the answers. It doesn't mean every opinion we have is Divine. It doesn't mean we exist on a higher plane. Stop deceiving yourself by imagining any man is greater than he really is. Peter in his limited wisdom believed it was impossible for him to deny Jesus. Look how that turned out. Paul in his earlier years believed the followers of Jesus needed to be imprisoned or killed. How wise was that? Apollos for all his eloquence didn't even know about the Holy Spirit. These were men. Mere men. Your father and mother are not worthy of a pedestal. Your pastor isn't either.
The questions of life and death and the future are questions we all must wrestle with but we must do it. We must not pass it off to some imagined hero to do our thinking for us. We are all people. We all go to the bathroom and require sleep. We all have moments where we shine and moments where we look pretty incompetent. Paul was as dependent on Jesus for true wisdom as anyone else was or is.
It's natural to desire a Hero. That's because we have One. Make Him your wisdom and leave men on the same ground we all stand on. Anything higher is an imagined deception setting you and perhaps them up for disappointment and failure.
"If anyone lacks wisdom let him ask God who gives to all freely..."