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Whence comes Wisdom? by Deon Crafford

1 Cor 1:18-31 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. 19 For it is written “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” 20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach[b] to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards,[c] not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being[d] might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him[e] you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Throughout our lives we are in pursuit of more knowledge. If you see how the lives of young children are jam-packed with academic and learning activities and how older people are constantly confronted with the challenge of life-long learning, then it appears there is a frenzy in becoming clever or intelligent as it will secure one with a reasonable future in this world. And yet in this frenzy of upping one’s intelligence or quotient of clever, there is little wisdom, because we are running the treadmill of clever, but actually what we’re doing to ourselves and to purposeful living is closer to stupid. You see wisdom is that capability or faculty that allows us to elevate from the visible and the logical and see things from a much higher order of thinking and analysis. We often call people “wise beyond his/her years” because we have come to qualify wisdom as dependent on a great deal of experience, which often only comes with time. And so when one is “wise” it is normally because he/she is older, greyed and perhaps a little more scarred by the events of life. But we should dwell on that point that wisdom requires elevation, even removal from the concrete and tangible in front of us – whether formula, data, evidence and the like. 

So what then would Spiritual Wisdom entail and how would be experience it in our faith and in our worship i.e. in the Church? It is quite simple if I use the scenario shared above. Wisdom should come to us through the Word of God and the mentorship of the Holy Spirit. All too often those proclaiming the faith is “clever” in the Word, but lack the Spiritual Wisdom that comes from being engaged with the Holy Spirit. Being “clever” in the Word, allows me to answer everything with a Biblical quote or verse, to “hold people to account” because they do not adhere to the edicts of the Word, and yet in all this “cleverness” I impart little or no Spiritual Wisdom to the hearer. What does this Spiritual Wisdom then entail? It raises our concrete and often linear interpretation of the Word of God to a new order of understanding. Spiritual Wisdom comes from living in a divine relationship with God, through the Holy Spirit, in which our thoughts, conduct and utterances are guided by so much more than worldly logic or Biblical “cleverness”. In a place of Spiritual Wisdom the Word of God is brought to relational life, and is no longer a faith-based standard or code of conduct with which we make life difficult for ourselves and others. Spiritual Wisdom produces in me maturity (where I am comfortable with being removed from the foreground) and makes me so much more impactful in touching the lives of others.

Is Spiritual Wisdom exclusively reserved for those who have served the Lord longest? No, this Wisdom is available to each one of us, regardless of age or how long we have served the Lord. It comes to us when we open ourselves to the guidance and mentorship of the Holy Spirit, when we earnestly seek a closer more intimate relationship with God and when we look beyond the guiding Word of God to the Heart, the Love and the Grace that is held out to us. Spiritual Wisdom and Spiritual Maturity goes hand in hand. When we keep focusing on ourselves and our faith-motivated achievements, we’re going to struggle to achieve Wisdom, but when we commit as much as we can to the guidance of the Spirit, we will be wise beyond our restrictions.


Love to all