Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The beginning of wisdom

Proverbs tells us that the beginning of wisdom is to fear God. This god isn’t some abstract concept that you make up in your mind; no, this is to fear the one true God. This is the God who has spoken in the Bible. I think a corollary of the fear of God is the simple recognition that I don’t know everything. This makes sense of course because a wise man is one who accepts instruction—he is able to learn from a rebuke. Proverbs 9 teaches this very clearly.

This would seem to indicate that the first step for a Christian who seeks wisdom is to acknowledge that there is a God, and that I’m not him. This sounds so simple to say, but I can’t count the number of times that I’ve said this with my lips and then promptly retreated to the recess of my own mind to try to understand something.

Lately, I’ve begun to see how well this idea fits into so much of what Jesus taught about righteousness. He blatantly told the Pharisees that he had not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Of course if they had realized who exactly it was that they were talking to, they would have also recognized how sinful and unwise they were. Notice the subtlety to what Christ says in John 9.
Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind." Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, "Are we also blind?" Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, 'We see,' your guilt remains.
(John 9:39-41)

If they had recognized their own blindness, they would have fled to Christ for forgiveness of sins, but instead, they claimed to already be both righteous and wise. Christ does not say that they weren’t blind, but simply that they said “We see.” They were unwilling to recognize their own blindness. Let’s remember that that wisdom is not hidden in ourselves or out there in the world somewhere—wisdom is hidden in Christ and his words.


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