“I ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory — to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for Christians, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him — endless energy, boundless strength!” (Ephesians 1:17-19, The Message)
True wisdom is not merely intellectual or related to a person’s age or experience of life. You can be old and foolish. You can be young and wise. Wisdom is not the same as mere knowledge. It is possible to have much knowledge and yet remain immature as a person. A primary school pupil can be wiser than the sages of this age. You may be a professor of theology but that does not prove you have an ounce of godly wisdom. You can know all about the Bible, but it takes wisdom to live by it. Wisdom is about your character, the depth of your knowledge of God and his ways.
Joshua was filled with “the spirit of wisdom” after Moses laid his hands on him and passed on his authority. No-one knew Moses better than Joshua. He had followed closely everything that Moses did from the beginning of Israel’s exodus from Egypt until they came to the borders of Canaan. He was next to Moses, his master, at all times. He was nearly always at Moses’ side when God manifested himself. He lingered in the Tent of Meeting after Moses had left the presence of God. But even this knowledge was not enough. He needed wisdom from God in order to know how to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land after Moses died. King Solomon asked God for one thing: a wise and understanding heart to lead the nation of Israel. God was pleased and gave him not only the wisdom he asked for but everything he didn’t ask for as well: wealth, riches and victory over his enemies.
Wisdom is about your character, the depth of your knowledge of God and his ways.
Paul prayed for the Ephesian believers that they might receive a “spirit of wisdom and revelation” in order to know Christ better – a wisdom which would bring Christ into the depth of their heart and understanding.
Wisdom is a moral and spiritual quality. The Bible declares “the fool has said in his heart ‘there is no God.'” Intellectually brilliant Atheists who pit their intelligence against belief in the existence of God remain foolish in their heart. Atheists believe that reason is sufficient to arrive at all truth and they miss the whole point of their life. It is tragic, but true. Atheism is not just about matters of philosophy. It has to do with the heart and how you choose to live your life.
Many people who say they believe in God also remain foolish, despite their “faith”, because they still think that life is all about the pleasures and satisfaction that can be derived from this life. They are “atheists” in the way they live. This also is foolishness. The Bible speaks against those who love pleasure rather than God, remaining ignorant of the fact that only God can provide true and lasting pleasure.
Many people refuse to believe in God because there is so much suffering in this world. Unexplained suffering, of course, does exist. But that does not mean that God does not exist. We know that our all loving all powerful God has already acted to lift the curse of suffering on the world. Jesus’ death and resurrection is proof of that. And God will remove it fully and finally in the New Heavens and the New Earth. A day is coming when all injustice will be reversed. In God’s final judgement on the world he will put justice to work, vindicating himself both in those who trust in his righteousness and in those who reject it. God’s judgment will finally remove all sin and suffering from those who abide in his justice. But those who refuse to bow to it will experience its righteous consequences forever.
Wisdom is a moral and spiritual quality.
The Bible speaks of those who are always learning (facts) but never come to a knowledge of the truth (wisdom). Wisdom is walking in the ways of God. It is trusting him in good times and in difficult times. Wisdom is putting God first in your life, no matter what. This is not the religious way of trying to attain to the blessings of God by behaving in certain ways you believe will guarantee them. It’s about pursuing God and discovering that what your soul is thirty for is found only in him. Nothing else satisfies.
This world in its fallen, broken condition is not that perfect world which once existed, providing perfect comfort and satisfaction. That world was damaged by sin and now we live in a world which is home to much suffering and pain. But God came into this world in the person of Christ to show us the way of wisdom. In Christ we experience the wisdom of God which is nevertheless foolishness to those who are perishing. As we follow the ways of God’s wisdom we begin to experience the fruits of wisdom. We discover that life with God works. It really works.
Several times in the Bible God invites us to test him. The context is always the same. It is all about trying, testing and proving that God is sufficient. He is sufficient when we are blessed and sufficient when we are suffering.
In fact suffering, when it cannot be avoided, is to be accepted as God’s strange and wonderful gift. Suffering leads us to depend on the unseen values of the wisdom of God. We have the stupendous joy of proving that God is enough. His invitation is to taste and to see that he is good – all the time.
Goodness outside of him is not goodness at all. He invites us to walk in his ways and prove that his way is “good, acceptable and perfect”. This has nothing to do with the circumstances of life. It has everything to do with God himself and the pleasures that exist only in him.
Wisdom is walking in the ways of God, putting him first in your life whatever your circumstances.
God says, “When you open your wallet to spend it on empty pleasures, you rob me.” Why do we try to buy the satisfaction that only God can give? It is foolish. Sheer waste. It makes sense to trust God for what he only can give. That’s wisdom. When you enter the kingdom and begin to invest in heavenly treasure you find the satisfaction that money cannot buy and thieves can never remove. That’s wisdom.
Christ is the summit and zenith of all wisdom – all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are found in him.
He only can give us the glorious and extravagant riches of the kingdom. Only Christ is the fount of all wisdom, all joy and all satisfaction. That’s why he instructs us in the ways of wisdom.
In the parable, Jesus commends the wise man who built his life on the rock. He was wise indeed. Everything else collapsed but this man’s house endured. In the same way we wisely build our lives on Christ – his person, his work and his ways. We will not be disappointed. His kingdom will last forever and so will everything that is built on him.
God invites us to walk in his ways and prove that his way is “good, acceptable and perfect”.
In the Message Bible, Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian believers has him looking to the Father to grant Christians the intelligence and discernment which come from intimate and personal knowledge of Christ. That’s true wisdom and it’s found in Christ. Every believer from that day to this, who has built his or her life on that prayer, has discovered the same truth. They have proved it for themselves: wisdom comes from above. Earthly things are passing away. Only God’s kingdom and the things that belong to it will remain.
Wisdom dictates that we should be wise in our investment. We have only one life to live and to live it well means to give it all to Christ and to live for his kingdom. This has nothing to do with a religious way of life or a religious way of looking at life. It has to do with the wisdom of facing the reality of life – life in Christ. It is immense, glorious and extravagant. Those who trust in him receive endless energy and boundless strength. No wonder the Bible encourages us to seek wisdom. It’s priceless.