What is wisdom? What does it mean to be wise? Scholars, theologians, academics and philosophers have debated this question and pondered its implications for millennia, yet even though there are various practical expressions of wisdom–at its heart, ultimate wisdom is simply valuing the eternal over the temporary.
“So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalms 90:12 NKJV)
What do I mean by this? Well, what is eternal? What will pass through the life/death barrier? What will survive after “we” leave our bodies? Isn’t it what some have alternately called our spirit or soul? Contrary to cynical thought, this life isn’t all there is, and what happens to “us” after we die is what is truly significant because regardless of what we accomplish or acquire in these bodies, there is nothing we can take with us when we die–except one thing: Jesus. What do I mean? Simply what St. Paul said in his letter to the Roman Christians:
“But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you.” (Romans 8:10-11 NIV)
If we have Jesus Christ–His Spirit–in us, then even though our bodies are dying or will eventually be, then the One who raised Jesus Christ from the dead will also raise me from the dead. That’s what God promises us!
Again–if Christ is in me, even though my body is subject to death because of the power and effect of sin, the Spirit gives me life because of Christ’s righteousness in me. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Christ from the dead is living in me, then He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to my mortal–my dying–body because of His Spirit who lives in me. Amazing! This is nothing short of absolutely, totally, life-shatteringly amazing!!!
And wisdom is giving this fact the weight–the attention, the focus, the time, the consideration and thought–it deserves in my busy day-to-day physical existence. Why? Because it is the terminus of my physical existence! As Jesus said, “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Mark 8:36-37 NLT)
The answer, obviously, is nothing–nothing is worth losing my soul and no accomplishment or acquisition will offset its loss.
So how should I respond to this? By being wise; by not avoiding thinking about it but rather, by intentionally making myself right with the eternal Force that is God. Listen to context of Jesus’ comment above, because pieces of the Bible shouldn’t be taken out of context–we should always read the verses before and after:
“Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, He said, ‘If any of you wants to be My follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow Me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? If anyone is ashamed of Me and My message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when He returns in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.'” (Mark 8:34-38 NLT)
What’s the Good News? That God forgives and accepts us through Jesus when we repent of our sins!
So our response should be to think of–recognize, acknowledge–our sins, and repent of them–feel remorse for messing up, for not being everything God wants us to be–and commit our destiny into Jesus’ hands–believe what God says and trust in the forgiveness He gives us through Jesus. In other words, rather than avoiding and running away from it, we should deal with the issue of what comes after this life, because, ultimately, that’s real wisdom!
Help me number my days that I may gain a heart of wisdom. I trust You, Jesus! Amen.