Let’s do a thought experiment. Imagine that God comes to you and tells you that he is willing to give you anything you want. Sort of like the Genie that came to Aladdin – cue the humming of “Friend Like Me.” What would you ask for? There is a story in the Scriptures that follows this same narrative. God came to King Solomon and offered to give him anything he asked for. Do you know what he requested? Wisdom! Wisdom is the ability to live in alignment with reality. It is knowing the right thing to do in each situation. God was so pleased with that request that he told him that in addition to giving him great wisdom, he would also extend Solomon’s days and make him great (1 Kings 3:1-15).

 Wisdom is highly valued in the Scriptures. Which makes Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 1:20-21 a bit puzzling for some. He wrote, “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? 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 to save those who believe.” Some have accused Paul of being against wisdom; anti-intellectual or overly simplistic. Is that what’s going on? I would suggest that it is not.

 Paul is simply stating that no human wisdom would ever produce the plan of the cross. No one has come to the logical conclusion that the Creator of all the cosmos should suffer and die for his creation. That defies human ingenuity. The wisdom of the world is not neutral toward this affirmation, it goes so far as to reject the idea that God would give himself in love, and yet this is the very plan that God devised to save his world. That is what C.S. Lewis meant when he said, “Reality is something you could not have guessed. That is one of the reasons I believe Christianity.” You could never have guessed the cross and you cannot arrive at understanding the cross through human logic.

Through the course of the passage, Paul pressed even further than this by stating, “The cross is the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24).

The cross not only defies the world’s wisdom but also demonstrates God’s wisdom.

Think about that for a moment. Living in the way of the cross helps us align with the way God created the world to function. When we take up our cross, we really do find the life God designed us to live. (Mark 8:34-35)

 I don’t know about you, but I’m challenged with that truth. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like taking up my cross is the wise thing to do, it feels like taking up arms is the wise thing. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like dying to self is the wise thing, it feels like defending myself is the wise thing. Take time today and prayerfully consider the magnitude of what Paul is saying – living in the way of the cross is wise – and then pray for God to empower you to step into that way with his heart.

Pastor Ryan Paulson
Lead Pastor

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