Every culture clamors for wisdom.
From Socrates to George Bernard Shaw, cultural shakers and shapers have always pitched wisdom; hoping to provide a pathway for a life well lived.
Modern experience concedes the point: we all long for a better way of life. We all long for the good life – a Life Well Lived. We will give just about anything to obtain this good life we seek.
Want a better home? . . . move here.
Want a better kid? . . . take this parenting course.
Want a better career? . . . enroll today in our can’t miss course.
Want a better faith? . . . .
bigger, better, more/bigger, better, more/repeat
Each slogan makes subtle claims on wisdom. Indeed, we pride ourselves on being the smartest, wisest person in the room as well as the smartest, wisest people on the planet.
I previously defined wisdom as the gift of slowing the frenetic pace of life down to a rhythm which opens one up to the presence of God in one’s midst (link here, http://disruptusrenovatus.com/what-is-wisdom-the-good-life-pt-2/). A rhythm which awakens us to an awareness of where He is as we prayerfully discern where He is leading!
This week’s post will consider modern and ancient sources of wisdom and propose some concrete steps one might take as we strive to live a Life Well Lived!
I can think of at least three areas where one might look – and find – a modicum of wisdom.
Education. Possibly, but not necessarily. Many of us know those who have achieved great success in this area, yet have terrible difficulty navigating the complexities of life.
Advancement. Perhaps, but likely, no. In fact, advancement might even lead us away from wisdom. We could, in the pursuit of advancement neglect the most meaningful areas of our life such as family, friends, or faith. Areas in which wisdom is nurtured.
Culture. We are all – to one degree or another – shaped by the culture in which we live. So, yes, wisdom may well be found in culture, but one doesn’t have too look to far to see how rare and surprising wells of wisdom are found these days.
Each area begs the question: Does the wisdom offered translate into a Life Well Lived?
Part of the problem with each option is that they begin and end with us. Wisdom’s source, it seems, lies outside of us. While it’s true that we do – on some level and in some way – desire wisdom, it’s equally true that we do not inhabit wisdom by virtue of our existence.
The Scriptures tell us that wisdom’s ground and goal is God himself. Further noting that wisdom is grounded in the specific way in which we relate to or orient ourselves toward God. Job’s beautifully poetic exploration of wisdom displays the grandeur and glory of God’s presence and our relationship to Him:
“God alone understands the way to wisdom;
he knows where it can be found,
24 for he looks throughout the whole earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
28 And this is what he says to all humanity:
‘The fear of the Lord is true wisdom;
to forsake evil is real understanding.’”
One’s ability to live the well-lived (wise) life corresponds directly to one’s relationship or orientation toward God. In these songs of Job the fear of the Lord is akin to wonder, terror, reverence, worship, and awe in His presence. To fear God is to live fully and frontally in His presence. To fear God is to walk this life with an awareness of Him and a reliance upon Him in all areas of life.
Such a perspective can – over time – awaken an awareness of His presence as we prayerfully discern His voice among the many other voices which vie for our attention and ultimate allegiance!
Wisdom as an awareness of and reliance on God in all things is central to the “God With Us” Gospel. It’s a Gospel that begins before sin and continues beyond redemption. It’s a Gospel which reveals and celebrates a heavenly father who created a good world with wisdom, redeems a great world through wisdom, and is preparing a glorious and grand world as wisdom!
The problem with most modern day believer’s is simply that our Gospel is too small. We have given our life over to a Gospel that is designed to fit us. This is, then essentially, no Gospel at all. At least not in the truest, most biblical and fully human idea of the Gospel expression extended by our Messiah: God With Us!
This is the Gospel of Christ our Lord!
This is the Gospel He delivers.
This is the Gospel which He embodies and into which we are invited.
It is in this God With Us Gospel that one finds wisdom’s deepest and most sacred expression. It is this God With Us Gospel – not the gospel of our modern day creation – which explores how crucial it is that we orient our life toward Him so that we live all of life in Him.
Stay with me on our journey toward wisdom.
Our journey will take us down four rarely traveled and often ignored pathways.
Pathways on which we will be encouraged, equipped and challenged to pay attention to the interior life and discover the joy and hope of soul care and Spiritual formation.
Pathways that end and begin in God Himself and lead us toward the good life He longs we have.
I intend to explore several pathways of formation. These pathways will invite us to explore the cavernous depths of the soul and discover eternal treasures grounded in Wisdom and the good life she provides.
The Pathways toward Wisdom are,
- The Pathway of Awareness and Worship. This pathway explores the false dualism grounded in the secular-sacred divide as we discover what it means that Scripture speaks of our messiah as God With Us!
- The Pathway of Rest and Reliance. This pathway invites us to discover rhythms of rest and reliance which nurture the soul and re-imagine the good-life!
- The Pathway of Welcome and Waiting. Perhaps the most difficult of all, this pathway will invite us the adventurous journey of surrender and the heart-of-wisdom awaiting on the other side!!