January 5, 2017
Proverbs 5:1-2, 21
My son, pay attention to my wisdom,
turn your ear to my words of insight,
2 that you may maintain discretion
and your lips may preserve knowledge.
21 For your ways are in full view of the Lord,
and he examines all your paths.
Wisdom. What is wisdom, and how does a person become wise?
Wisdom is not a body of knowledge or information. These proverbs in and of themselves are not wisdom. To be sure, they are wisdom sayings, but sayings alone are not wisdom. Wisdom cannot be reduced to mere words on a page. Wisdom is not a concept but a person. Wisdom is the Word of God fleshed out in human life. It’s why the New Testament refers to Jesus, the Word made flesh, as the Wisdom of God.
Yes, wisdom is a type of Divine intelligence made available and accessible to human beings through the person of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Today’s text reaches for the term “discretion.” A person of discretion says the right thing at the right time, does the right thing at the right time and moves through life with a charmed presence, living with a kind of skillful ease even in the worst chaos. Doesn’t that describe Jesus well?
So how does a person become wise?
It sounds simple and even obvious, but the first and most important step in becoming a wise person is to declare before God that you want to become a wise person. Simple huh? So have you done it? Today can be the day.
It’s simple logic but worth noting. If Jesus is the wisdom of God, then to become a wise person is to become like Jesus. This happens in two primary ways, through imitation and impartation. The life of Jesus invites imitation. What would Jesus do (W.W.J.D.) is actually a wisdom question. The only way we will ever answer this question accurately is to be able to answer this question: “What did Jesus do?” And the only way we can answer this question is to become a student (a.k.a. a disciple) of Jesus.
Many of us have a self-assured sense of confidence that because we are a Christian we pretty much know what Jesus did and thereby what he would do. We know the basic story so we are good to go. Right? Wrong. The Christian faith of the last fifty years or so has pretty much reduced Jesus to the three day span ranging from Good Friday through Easter Sunday.
To be sure, the Cross is central.
What we must come to understand is the Cross is also circumferential. Jesus entire life is the Cross. His pre-existence as the Son of God, his conception, gestation, birth, life, words, parables, deeds, signs, miracles, travel itinerary, suffering, crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection, appearances, ascension, enthronement, sending of the Holy Spirit, intercession before the Father, second coming, final judgment, consummation of the Kingdom and so forth—ALL OF THIS IS THE CROSS.
[[It’s why come February 1 we will begin another Gospel Journey together, this time through the Gospel of John. More on that to come, but I want to invite you to begin considering who you might invite to join us.]]
In the Gospels we have an inexhaustible wellspring of wisdom from the life of Jesus.
That’s imitation. Now to the second movement of wisdom: impartation. Imitation requires inspiration which comes from the impartation of the Holy Spirit. Wisdom beckons us to invite the Holy Spirit to supernaturally empower us to turn the fullness of all our faculties of perception toward the source of wisdom.
Abba Father, thank you for the example of your son, Jesus. We want to do your will, which is to walk in his ways. We want Jesus to be our wisdom. Come Holy Spirit and set us free from the constraints of our self assured understanding, which is ignorance, and let us find the humility to truly learn from him. We pray in his name, Amen.
1. How might we take delight in what we know of Jesus while coming to grips with the so-much-moreness of him we do not yet know?
2. Would you take a minute right now and ask God to grant you wisdom, to fill you with an insatiable hunger to become his disciple and an unquenchable thirst for the fullness of the Holy Spirit?
3. What do you think of this vastly enlarged idea of the Cross? How are you challenged by this?
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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. firstname.lastname@example.org.