Wisdom for Mature People
Wisdom knows what is true, and how to use that information. Worldly wisdom is based either on 'progressive wisdom' (building on the experiences and understanding of the past), 'inspirational wisdom' (a sudden awareness or 'eureka moment') or 'collective wisdom' (used in committees or teams). It is generated by humans for humans. But God's wisdom cannot be unravelled using any of those methods. He keeps to Himself all that we do not need to know, but reveals enough so that we know how to work with Him obediently (Deuteronomy 29:29).
Paul had been downgraded in the eyes of many in the church at Corinth because he did not seem wise. The young converts had been brought up to think that wisdom led to power, wealth and prestige in this life. Paul's gospel was therefore counter-cultural (Jesus was weak, poor and despised). But the gospel is immensely wise. God planned it before He created the world, even before mankind sinned, so that we might be forgiven and share in God's glory.
Although there are many clues in the Old Testament about Jesus, His death and resurrection, none of the Jewish theologians or philosophers recognised Jesus. Instead, they plotted to kill Him. But even that was part of God's wisdom! Jesus first had to die so that sinful people could be forgiven, and after that the 'mystery' could and must be fully revealed. Those who receive Christ and learn how to live according to God's wisdom are described as 'mature'. They are not intellectually naïve, as the world claims; they are wise, and will share God's glory for all eternity.
The pressure to accept worldly wisdom can be intense. Its benefit is supposed to be more money, more privilege and more power; and enough people get enough of that in the short term to make it seem worthwhile. But they are coming to nothing. However, godliness is good for this life and essential for the life to come (1 Timothy 4:8). Godly wisdom is not intended to be a means of financial gain (1 Timothy 6:5), but to bring a quiet conscience (2 Corinthians 1:12). The worldly-wise graspers lives in fear of losing what their ambition has gained, but the forgiven person lives in freedom.
© Dr Paul Adams