Wisdom is a word that is often tossed around in the wind today. Many assume to be wise and many desire to find true wisdom. But really, what is true wisdom?
Through reading the book of Proverbs, we get to listen in on a father giving advice to his son about how to live life, avoid pitfalls, and achieve success. Over and over, the father points out to the son that two “ways” or two “paths” are open to him, and that he will have to choose one or the other.
One choice is the way of wisdom, which leads to life in its fullest sense. God is with those who are on this path; he protects them from danger. “He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him” (Proverbs 2:8).
The other choice is the way of folly. This path is called “dark” (2:13) and “crooked” (2:15). Its dangers include the evil people who take pleasure in doing wrongs, and hidden snares that may appear good but ultimately only bring harm. Most significant, however, is the path’s destination – destruction. “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death” (14:12).
Jesus also spoke often of two choices, two ways of living and two paths. In the Sermon on the Mount, he talked about two roads, warned that people cannot serve two masters, and described two builders, one who was wise and one who was foolish. “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate,” Jesus said. “The highway to destruction is broad, and its gate is wide for the many people who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it” (Matthew 7: 13-14).
Whereas Proverbs describes a way of wisdom that leads to life and to God, Jesus defined that way in much more personal terms. He said “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14: 6). The decision, as Jesus made clear, is not merely a matter of behavior or companions, but a choice about how we respond to him, whether or not we choose him as our path and our life.
Let us never look back once we find the wise pathway that embodies truth and life.
Prayer – Path to life, Way of Wisdom, I turn to run in your direction, knowing that only as I walk in you will I find joy and peace, satisfaction and security. Your Word is a lamp to my feet as I walk this path, enabling me to see your beauty and your worth, convincing me of the folly of any path that takes me in another direction.
Incumbent at St Aidan's Anglican Church,