“For the word of the cross is folly 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 and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’”
1 Corinthians 1:18-19
O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who ord’rest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!
I don’t know about you, but wisdom is something I’d like to have more of. Wisdom feels like it’s in short supply these days, and the supply feels even smaller when the world feels like it’s getting bigger. As you grow, your world gets significantly bigger doesn’t it? You’ve got choices to make – choices at home, at school, with friends, where to go to college, who follow on social media. You’ve got more freedom to live than when you were a small kid, but that means you need guidance to use that freedom well. As you move into adulthood, you’ll still need that guidance.
So, where do we go to get that guidance? Where can we find true wisdom? When the Scriptures talk about wisdom, they talk about it as a gift from the Lord (cf. Prov 1:6-10). Wisdom is a skill from the Lord that enables a person to live well. Wisdom leads to good decisions. It produces security, pleasantness, peace, and justice. It makes a person upright and guards him or her from evil.
The Scriptures also talk about wisdom as a person. The book of Proverbs describes wisdom as a woman calling out in the street, urging people to listen to her and dwell secure (cf. Prov 1:20-33). Wisdom is best personified, though, in Jesus. Jesus identifies himself with lady Wisdom (cf. Matt 11:18-19), setting himself up as the one who calls out to us inviting us into a way of being that leads to a life well-lived. Paul also says, “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness, sanctification and redemption” (1 Cor 1:30).
In Jesus, we not only have an example of wisdom – an example of someone living well, we have the ultimate giver of wisdom. The wisdom of God comes through clearest for us in “the word of the cross.” It’s in the cross that we have a gift that enables us to live freely. It’s in the cross that true security, pleasantness, peace, and justice come to us.
This Advent, we yearn for Jesus, the wisdom from on high, to come so that he might order and structure our lives around his work – especially his work on the cross and in the empty tomb. We pray that he would show us that it’s only in the word of the cross, a word that sounded foolish to many, that true life comes. You have been given new life in him – a life that is free where the world is now opened up to you in marvelous ways because you are no longer bound by the power of sin. As you enter that world as his righteous, redeemed, and sanctified child, you also enter it with the wisdom that comes from his sacrificial love, and you’re empowered to make decisions with his wisdom as your guide and help.
O Wisdom, proceeding from the mouth of the Most High,
Pervading and permeating all creation,
Mightily ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence. Amen!
- Who is the wisest person you know? What makes them wise do you think?
- How might the wisdom Jesus gives help you navigate a difficult or challenging decision or situation in your life this week?