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What is wisdom?

A Christocentric approach to the Book of Proverbs: wisdom from above the sun.


Stéphanie Rousselle

Wisdom. Most of us would say we possess some measure of it. And yet, we would probably all sign up for more, if it didn’t prove so, well… elusive? Unattainable? Reserved for the “truly spiritual”?  What if our desire for wisdom led us to look for the right answers in the wrong places? What if wisdom was accessible to anyone who asks? Most importantly, how do we get this wisdom that is not of the world?

Biblica and Gospel Spice Ministries partner to invite you to ponder the wisdom of the book of Proverbs through a Christocentric perspective over the next few weeks. We promise spiritual flavor explosions steeped in the biblical concepts of hope, faith, and joy in the Lord. We will provide weekly articles, videos and podcast episodes to serve seasoned and new believers alike.

How should we prioritize wisdom and holiness? Why should our lives aim to reflect our Lord’s? Our intention is to create and nurture a lifelong quest to cultivate holy wisdom in practical ways by acquiring new perspectives on daily living and “being transformed by the renewing of our minds.” Biblical wisdom is irresistibly attractive because it centers on Jesus Christ.

Each week, we will meet a fictitious character embodying a specific trait we hope to learn from. Comfort and forgetfulness, foolishness and lack of perspective, lust and envy, pride and arrogance, selfishness and self-centeredness, fear and anxiety, greed and vanity, deceit and manipulation. We have a rocky road ahead—where a glorious Savior awaits.

And so today, meet Samantha.

Samantha goes to church every Sunday and tithes faithfully. She remembers the time when she accepted Christ with fondness and nostalgia—life was so simple then! She wonders sometimes: “Was is really the same me? When did my life become so busy?” She is married, raising two teenagers, and working full time. At work and at home, she is risk-averse and values intelligence. Having a backup plan seems common sense, and she prizes her own wisdom in making sure all the angles are always covered.

Samantha has an active social life, between her husbands’ business partners and her own friends and clubs, including her gym. She loves social media—such a great avenue to share her amazing life with the world, and to hear from her many friends!

Samantha places a high premium on people’s opinion of her. Actually, she might go as far as calling herself a people pleaser. She gives to a selection of charities when she gets their ask letters in the mail. She also spends quite a lot on herself, but she feels she deserves it.

At church, she is always inspired by those who seem to have deep intimacy with God. She notices them everywhere—on the worship team, or sitting next to her during the message, or praying with one another between services. She wonders how they do it, but she would never actually ask them: what would they think?

She knows she would probably benefit from spending more time with God than just at church on Sundays; but that will have to wait. All her friends seem to be running the same race; she figures it is the way life is. After all, she’s already giving God a portion of her time and money.

Recently, something quite undefinable has shifted. She feels it most when the busyness subsides for a moment. She finds herself increasingly critical of her husband and kids, and short of patience when they don’t satisfy her expectations—which seems to be a more common occurrence. She finds herself looking forward to that glass of wine every night, just to unwind. She has slowly developed anxiety and seeks relief on her fridge’s shelves. She has gained 18 pounds and lost countless hours to sleeplessness. And she is not feeling better.

Her phone informs her weekly that her screen time increases in double digits. Apparently, she is seeking solace with her social media friends. It’s hard to believe, because Facebook does not bring her the soothing forgetfulness it once did. She regularly leaves her social media scroll feeling restless and anxious at how she does not measure up anymore. What must her friends think?

Hum. What do you think, dear reader?

The world would tell us that Samantha is wise. She is hedging her bets. She is doing it all—the family, the career, the social life, the church attendance, the regular physical exercise. She has one foot firmly planted in the world, and the other tentatively resting on her Christian faith.

What would the Book of Proverbs say to Samantha? Proverbs differentiate the wise from the simple, the fool and the wicked. It teaches us that the first step of wisdom is to unlearn the ways of the world—the very ones that are still so pervasive and influential in Samantha’s life.

Wisdom begins by unlearning the world’s values to acquire humility. Proverbs highlights the path of the wise, rooted in humility and grounded in Christ. Humility is to see everyone the way God does. Proverbs is the Old Testament roadmap to Christlikeness, not primarily because it tells us how to live, but because it shows us the God who maps our road.

Wisdom is available to all who seek it. It is rooted in a Biblical, Christocentric approach to God. Wisdom is a God-breathed process that will take us ever deeper into intimacy and wonder. The Book of Proverbs challenges us to pursue God as our highest goal. This is the wisest thing we could choose to do with our life.

We invite you to discover the rest of Samantha’s story, and the wisdom of God Himself in the pages of the Book of Proverbs on the Gospel Spice Podcast this week.

 

Links:

-          Listen to Episode 81, released April 5, 2021 – “Are you wise? What is wisdom? How do we grow in it?”

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