1 Corinthians 2:6
Have you ever found yourself talking to another believer, completely amazed at the wisdom coming from them and at the same time realizing that it isn’t them? This happened to me recently when Michelle and I were talking to our new friends Terry and Amore. If you are a regular reader, you might remember me talking about them about a month or so ago. We had just met them but sat glued to everything he was saying and marveling at the wisdom that was exuding from him, but it was obvious it was God’s wisdom and not his. I know he didn’t go to Bible school or seminary, but I don’t even know if he went to college, it never came up because it was irrelevant. I realize I have recently used this verse, but it made me think of Acts 4:13, “The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.”
Amore is a very humble man whose only goal is to glorify God. His speech is plain like we talked about last week, yet the wisdom of God just flowed from everything he said. This is what Paul was getting at in 1 Corinthians 2:6 when he said, “Yet when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten.”
So, why didn’t he speak with God’s wisdom to the church at Corinth? One of the problems was that this particular church was trusting in their own wisdom. Corinth was a center of Greek philosophy which touted the wisdom of man. They worshiped man-kind, and their earthly wisdom much like many people do today. And, although the church were believers, they were very immature believers because they were being swayed by their environment.
Paul let them know that when he is with mature believers, he does speak with wisdom. By saying this, Paul was putting them in their place. They thought they were all that, but Paul let them know that they were still very immature in Christ. God often does this with us. We start trusting in our own wisdom and even try to take credit for God’s wisdom. God will never stand for this.
But when Paul told them that he spoke words of wisdom with more mature believers, he added a qualifier. He said, “but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten.” You see, the wisdom of this world is fleeting; it is soon forgotten. Those who think they are wise in the world will be forgotten.
The thing about God’s wisdom is that it is irrefutable. Oh, the world can try to mock it, trivialize it, or dispute it, but when they come face to face with the wisdom of God, they either give in or walk away.
Far too often, we try to reason with the unsaved by using our own, worldly knowledge. This never works and usually causes you and Christians as a whole to look ignorant. When talking to the world, or other Christ followers for that matter, we must go to them in the wisdom of God, not men.
So, where do we get the wisdom of God? Proverbs 9:10 says, “Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.” Talking about fearing God isn’t popular right now, but it is scriptural. This verse and many others tell us that if we want to get wisdom, first we must fear God. Today the Church either preaches the love of God only or the fear of God only. As always, we are a people of extremes. But the truth is, both messages are equally important, and neither is exclusive. We must fear God because He loves us. You see, God loves us so much that He will never allow us to continue in sin without punishment. Did your dad ever tell you, “I brought you into this world, I can take you out!” I realize this is not a politically correct thing to say today, but I heard it growing up. My kids feared me; they knew if they did wrong, there would be consequences because I loved them and wanted them to grow up to be men of God. They also feared to let me down or disappoint me.
Someone recently told me that “The God of the Old Testament was an angry God and the God of the New Testament was a loving God.” It was obvious that this person had never read the Old Testament. Yes, in the Old Testament God did punish His people many times, but He always gave them chance after chance first. I shared with him my favorite verse. I took him to Zephaniah 3:17 which says, “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” You can’t get much more Old Testament than Zephaniah, and yet this doesn’t sound like an angry God to me.
The second step to getting God’s wisdom is, once we have realized the fear of God, we need to ask for wisdom. James 1:5-8 says, “5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.” So, if you want wisdom, just ask! But first, you must make sure your faith is in God alone, not in yourself.
Lastly, we need to realize that there is a difference between wisdom and knowledge. I saw a quote just yesterday that summed this up very well. I must say that I don’t usually quote Jimmy Hendrix, but this was good, he said, “Knowledge talks, wisdom listens.”
So, if you want God’s wisdom, you must first fear Him, then you must ask for it, then, just listen.