Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 21, 2019
Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. 1 Corinthians 3:18-19a (NRSV)
I grew up surrounded by cultural activism. In an era of rapidly changing cultural norms and assumptions, people passionately gave themselves to the pursuit of change, believing these changes would lead to a happier and more just society. This activism extended and extends today into many different spheres of society – politics, economics, and environmental protection, to name but a few. And while many of these causes, such as the civil rights movement, were clearly seeking to right horrific wrongs, in other areas of society we have fervently thrown off inherited norms and are now beginning to suffer unanticipated consequences.
Simply put, activism in and of itself does not always guarantee a wise or just result. We can be deeply passionate and yet deeply wrong at the same time. In St. Paul’s mind, the great tragedy is to give yourself fully to something that you believe to be wise and worth your time, yet in fact is the very definition of foolishness. In fact, for Christians, he says true wisdom will likely appear to be a fool’s errand.
Our society is driven almost exclusively by sex, money, and power. We are told, the more you have of each of these, the more successful, meaningful, and fulfilled you will be. As such, a “wise” woman or man will spend their time learning how to become more sexually attractive, financially independent, and dominant in their spheres of influence. This is true today and was true in Paul’s day. And to his audience and to us he emphatically says, “do not deceive yourselves.”
True wisdom requires an ability to see cultural values and norms through the lens of the rule and reign of God. We should passionately and boldly pursue wisdom and justice in our lives, neighborhoods, and wider society, yet it must be animated and informed by the upside down values of God’s Kingdom. True wisdom is found not in what you get but in what you give. True wisdom is seen in the generous and selfless use of resources, both time and money. True wisdom sees influence and leadership as a platform for celebrating and lifting others up, not as a means of personal promotion or inflating one’s self-worth.
Though it may seem foolish and feel counterintuitive at every turn, this is the only path to becoming a person of substance and wise living!
Father, give us discerning hearts that are quick to reject the wisdom of this world and continually press deeper into the “foolishness” of your Kingdom. Amen.
Has the allure of sex, money, or power clouded your discernment of true wisdom?
True wisdom and abundant joy is found not in what we get but in what we give. #wisdomhunters #truewisdom
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