Naming Wisdom

Let’s talk politics.  Sorta.  The people in elected offices and we electors who put them there need wisdom in a huge way, and soon.

Here are some vexing topics of late.  #MeToo. Kneeling for the flag. Injustice. Racial unrest. Antifa.  Murders.  American cities looking like war zones.  COVID.  Economic shutdown.  Immigration. Impeachment. North Korean nuclear bombs.  China’s ambition for world dominance and persecution of religious and ethnic minorities. Russian meddling. Hurricanes. Concurrent with all of this disturbance is the runup to the next U.S. election, with each side warning of cheating and apocalyptic outcomes.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” as Dickens opens “A Tale of Two Cities,” set during the French Revolution.  He adds, “It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.”  He could have been describing our current cultural upheaval, which some would like to be a kind of revolution.  If so, I pray it’s more about the best of times and the age of wisdom than the alternatives.

We need leaders wise about the long term and unintended consequences of ideas.  John Stonestreet likes to say, “Ideas have consequences; bad ideas have victims.” If we are wise, we will seek leaders with good ideas, and thereby love our neighbors and fellow citizens by not making victims of them with bad ideas.

Make no mistake.  Wisdom is from God.  Ideas that seem wise at the time can turn out to be otherwise.  Such ideas are “worldly” wisdom.  “Where is the wise man?  Where is the debater of this age?  Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Cor. 1:20).  The world offers so much to deceive you into believing a lie.  That leads to confirmation bias, only considering evidence that furthers the lie.  “A fool does not delight in understanding, but only in revealing his own mind” (Prov. 18:2).

The Bible explains wisdom.  By contrast: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Prov. 1:7).  By relationship: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Prov. 9:10).  And by Name: “You are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30).

I recently had the privilege of chatting with author Os Guiness about his recent book, Last Call for Liberty.  In it he writes, “America, America.  Do you know what time it is?  Do you understand the meaning of this moment?  Freedom is at stake.”  I asked, “Is there a tipping point when America can no longer return to its founding ideal of liberty?” He hesitated then offered, “Yes. When America’s leaders tolerate evil.”

God help us. Seek His Wisdom. By name.

The Reveal

Drew Brees (NFL quarterback) appeared on television earlier this year, but people didn’t know who he was.  Until the reveal.

He filmed an episode of “Undercover Boss” as an owner of Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux.  In disguise, he worked as a dishwasher.  After experiencing stories of hard work and loyalty among the employees, he and co-owner Brandon Landry surprised them with college scholarships for their kids.  The climax of the show is the reveal and generosity of the owners.

The sad truth is that many people are yet unaware of the greatest reveal in history, and it wasn’t made for TV.  Every two years, Lifeway Research conducts a “State of Theology” poll, asking people to respond to survey statements.  This year’s poll finds that 52% of Americans and 30% of evangelicals believe “Jesus was a good teacher, but he was not God.”  Also, 65% of evangelicals believe “Jesus is the first and greatest being created by God.”  God has revealed Himself quite differently than those two statements.

The Bible portrays a scene in heaven in which the “Ancient of Days” treated the “Son of Man” as God (Dan. 7).  Jesus frequently identified Himself as that Son of Man.  The Messiah is “Mighty God” who would be born as a child (Isa. 9).  Jesus “was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through Him” (John 1:2-3). Jesus is “before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Col. 1:17).  Jesus told naysayers, “Before Abraham was born, I Am” (John 8:58), staking his claim to the given name of God.  Jesus is God the Son, not a created being.

The grand reveal of all time happened when the eternal Creator took on a created body and walked amidst His creation. The early church confronted the Arian heresy that denied that fact.  In his day, C. S. Lewis tried “to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him:  ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ ”

Please take this kindly.  If you don’t know that Jesus is God the Son, your Creator, it means you don’t know that the need of your soul is so great that it requires God Himself to be your Savior.  It means you don’t understand Christmas – God appearing in the flesh.  It means you can’t appreciate the cross – God atoning for your sins, and Easter – God conquering death for you.  It means you haven’t experienced the depths of God’s love and desire for you to be with Him forever.

Imagine knowing a generous and influential person who never revealed himself.  I’m not talking about Drew Brees, but Jesus.  And the question is not “Who was He?” but “Who is He?”  The reveal is quite good news!