A Note About Wisdom

This morning I woke up thinking about wisdom. I often ask God for wisdom. I recently read the book of James where we are told to do so. We read in James 1:5 that “if any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Asking for wisdom feels like the right prayer these days.

So this morning, I recalled a passage of scripture that mattered so deeply to me as I studied to earn my PhD at the University of Michigan. Everyone around me seemed so very intelligent. They used words I didn’t understand. They read critical theory I didn’t understand. Two professors mocked my Christian faith (using vocabulary I didn’t understand). With everyone making me feel foolish for following Jesus, that semester, I clung to 1 Corinthians 1:18-25. Paul writes this:

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate

Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

Where is the wise person? This person knows Jesus and teaches “Christ crucified.”

I also turned with joy to Colossians 2:3 where I read that “in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

In Christ is wisdom. Christ is the “wisdom of God.” Jesus holds all the wisdom. So when I’m thinking about building a life of wisdom, I think about Jesus. And I go back to the book of James, written by Jesus’ brother. He says:

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

The wise person: focused on Jesus, humble, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, impartial, sincere. The unwise: ignores Jesus, arrogant, divisive, rude, inconsiderate, rebellious, and insincere.

Lord, help us grow in wisdom.

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