The Most Valuable Thing
By Fin Sheridan
“And because of him, you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:30-31)
From the oldest civilisations, wisdom has been pursued. From the village wise man in the tribes of the jungle, to the philosophers of the Greek and Roman Empires, right up to present day ‘gurus’ and self-help advisors, humans have recognised the value of wisdom. They’ve traded their gold and their time to seek it. This might make it the most valuable thing on the planet. It’s a tricky word to define – but we know it when we see it. We intuitively know when someone has the sense, knowledge and good judgement that we can benefit from. Wisdom is the ability to weigh decisions and circumstances and navigate well the challenges of life. It’s a precious compass as we sail through existence.
So, let’s turn to that verse from 1 Corinthians 1. Paul has been talking about how the highest wisdom of man barely scratches the surface of the wisdom of God – in fact, it’s better described as foolishness, it’s that pitiful. So, after giving us that good news, he then delivers this wonderful conclusion: ‘Christ Jesus has become for us wisdom from God.’
God didn’t just give us some wisdom, a little sprinkling of good decision-making dust, but instead, He gave us Jesus. The reason is that Jesus is so wise that he’s more like the definition of wisdom. He personifies wisdom – He is the perfect example of wisdom. In fact, in Matthew 12:42, Jesus says about himself that “someone greater than Solomon is here.” We don’t just have wise advice – we have the very definition of wisdom, wrapped up in a Person.
“God didnʼt just give us some wisdom, a little sprinkling of good decision-making dust, but instead, He gave us Jesus.”
Let’s take this amazing thought even further. You are in Christ Jesus. Christ Jesus is the definition of wisdom (and, whilst we’re at it, the person of purest righteousness, the person of complete sanctification, the person of total redemption). Because we are ‘in Christ,’ you and I are surrounded by wisdom, not the pitiful wisdom of man and his philosophies but the heavenly wisdom of the one who knows all things. We’re wrapped up in Him – and He is completely wise.
Now, we talked about how valuable wisdom is at the beginning of this article. Typically, wisdom costs something – time spent learning, finances exchanged for knowledge or advice. Think of a business owner hiring a consultant to give him insight and wisdom – he often hands over large amounts of money because he knows that the advice is worth more in the long run. We can slip into this transaction thinking with God – He’ll give wisdom to his favourites, the ones who behave well, or who get it right. He’ll give it to the pastors and leaders, the authors and teachers. We have to exchange works for wisdom.
Yet this simply isn’t true – and the Bible speaks directly against it. Wisdom cannot be traded for holiness. James 1:5 makes this incredibly clear – ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.’ Wisdom is given as grace. It’s a gift from God and one that He wants to give generously to us. He gives ‘without finding fault’. This makes perfect sense – it’s for those in Christ! Just as we couldn’t earn our righteousness or our redemption, neither could we achieve wisdom. It’s freely offered, a glorious side-effect of the New Self.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5 (NIVUK)
This isn’t just a happy theological truth though – it crashes straight into the nuts and bolts of our everyday life. The free gift of wisdom could revolutionise the way you and I do, well, everything. Imagine parenting with the wisdom of God, instead of your best ideas and Mumsnet (nothing against Mumsnet, I just don’t think it can hold a candle to infinite supernatural wisdom).
Imagine working your job, making decisions with the Holy Spirit nudging you through the hundreds of choices you have to make. Imagine managing your money, buying a house, investing your time, pursuing your dreams, all with the help of Jesus – the definition of wisdom itself. Imagine how different our lives could be, if we asked God for His wisdom, trusting that it’s fully available for us through Jesus.