Let us pray: Dear Savior, reorder our hearts so that we begin to focus on what is truly important in life and leave behind human foolishness. Focus our attention on eternal truths, eternal wisdom, eternal forgiveness from Your gracious hand, and eternal life. Enable us to see the timelessness of self-sacrificial love and experience the joy that it brings. And thereby bring lasting peace to each of our lives. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, THE WISDOM OF GOD!
TEXT: I Cor. 2: 6-13
Dearly Beloved By Christ:
Does turning 18 or 21 make you into an adult? If you’re under those ages, you might well say: “Yes.” If you’re well-advanced beyond those ages, I’m guessing you’d say: “No.” So, who’s right? For the past 50+ years America has been on a youth kick. Spawned by the huge demographic of the baby-boomers, we celebrated being youthful. Advertisers played to that crowd. Music, art, and clothing reflected it. Now, being young does have its advantages. Generally it means you’re healthier, more carefree, and live in the moment. You possess more energy. You dream big dreams and think the sky is the limit. However, with age, you change. Each ache, each death in the family, each job loss, each personal hurt begins to take its toll. You begin to realize that this world is really not a very nice place, that people are out to take advantage of you, and dreaming pie-in-the-sky thoughts doesn’t really change those facts. Such recognition of reality is called: growing up. And it ushers in adulthood. I’ll admit, some 50 year olds haven’t learned it yet, and some 18 year olds have. But generally speaking: with age comes maturity. And hopefully maturity leads to wisdom, or the ability to not repeat past mistakes.
If you really study all of human history, you’ll find that every culture looked up to and valued such maturity—until our modern culture arrived. The parents of the baby boomers spoiled their children. This bred a sense of entitlement, or the “I deserve it” attitude. The boomers have done the same thing to most of their children, too. And so we arrive at today, where hard work is to be avoided not embraced; where self-sacrifice is considered not having the newest I-phone; and where escapism from life has made the entertainment industry the biggest one in the nation.
Back in the late 60’s a hot singing group was the “5th Dimension.” Their sugary, self-centered music reflected the time.—That life is all about “making me feel good.” They had superficial answers, the superficiality of youth, to the huge problems facing modern man. This is seen in their top song: “What The World Needs Now Is Love, Sweet Love.” It’s as if doe-eyed 17 year olds could change the world and combat all evil simply by wishing it were so. And then we arrive at today. Suddenly people cannot live in fantasy land but must face reality. Suddenly our credit card economy is out of money. Suddenly people have to exert self-discipline and embrace hard work and hard choices. Suddenly America must grow up and become mature. We must strip aside anything frivolous and get back to basics. We must, as Christ says: “become wise as serpents and as gentle as doves.” Yes, today, in the year 2023:
WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS GODLY WISDOM
Human wisdom is all about: how to survive. It is about being stronger, smarter, tougher, and more cut-throat than your competition. I suppose human wisdom is exemplified pretty well by Pontius Pilate. In sentencing Christ to death he thought he was protecting himself from Rome’s wrath and placating the crowd at the same time.—A win-win, right? But, in the end it was a lose-lose as he lost his governorship and seething rebellion consumed the land. My point is: human wisdom and Godly wisdom are poles apart.
“We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory. However, as it is written (In Is. 64) “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”—but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.”
The timeless wisdom of God is His own sacrificial love extended to us in and through Jesus Christ. His wisdom was to forgive us lost, rebellious sinners. His wisdom was to send His one and only Son to bear our eternal guilt and shame. His wisdom was to appease His anger over our abuses of His caring nature, to appease it by putting Christ to death in our place. His wisdom was to raise Jesus from His grave and transfer all of His holiness and perfection to us through faith. His wisdom was to thereby provide us with real maturity via the fruits of faith: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control.” His wisdom was to shower such timeless gifts upon us through the power of the Spirit Who implanted and waters and nourishes the seed of faith in our hearts. His wisdom was to provide us with mature introspection of these gifts so that we could apply them to ourselves and to others for the benefit of all people. And thus, such wisdom would last literally forever.
“The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.”
Wise humans become wise when they say “No” to themselves and follow God instead of their emotions or whims. Wise adults become adults when they are willing to say: “No” to their children for the good of the family. Maturity and self-denial go hand-in-hand. Maturity and self-sacrifice for others goes hand-in-hand. And the only example of total self-sacrifice is seen in Jesus hanging on the cross for us.
What the world needs now is Godly wisdom. It doesn’t need pious human thoughts about God. It doesn’t need the Darwinian “survival of the fittest” attitude, either. And it doesn’t need youthful idealism that loves to hear itself talk and talk and accomplish nothing. No, we need to focus on God’s love for us and what that love means: the self-sacrifice of Christ’s very life. We need to focus on how He has remade our hearts and put that same spirit within us. And then we need to apply it every daily to all our actions and all our decisions. If we do, God will manage our problems and also give us joy along the way. Amen
THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH….
Pastor Thomas H. Fox