THE KEY TO SUCCESS IS WISDOM

All of us are walking around with what would have been considered a super computer back in the 70s in our pocket. That is right. I’m talking about our smartphones. Not only it has amazing processing power and gigabytes of storage, more importantly, it connects us to the great world wide web. And when we have something on our person that can connect us to the internet, then we have thousands of years of knowledge on our fingertips.

Think about it: whatever you need to know, you can look it up on your phone. Who is the president of Nicaragua? What is the going exchange rate for US dollars to Indonesian rupiah? What movies are playing in our mall? Which way should we take to go there?

And we are not talking merely simple encyclopedic information. If you want, you can learn or train yourself to do almost anything online. You can learn music, film making, cooking, management, etc. You can even take certified classes online and get a degree from distinguished institutions all over the world. And you can access all these things from your phone.

But honestly: how many of us use our phones for more than just texting, checking emails, playing games, and watching videos on YouTube? According to studies, not that many. All those certified online classes? Their completion rate is less than 20%. Why? Because we can always give and get access to knowledge online. But unless we have wisdom, we do not know how to use that knowledge in our life.

This is why wisdom is the key to success instead of knowledge. Because in this world, everyone can have knowledge because everyone can have access to internet using their smartphone. But wisdom is about how, why, and when to use that knowledge. When you have wisdom, you will be successful. That is why wisdom is a highly sought commodity throughout history of humankind. Including during Jesus’ time…

JOHN 14:15-21 (NLT)

““If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.””

WISDOM IS A PERSON

There are a lot of similarities between the Wisdom teachings in Israel and the Wisdom traditions of the nations around it. They all seek enlightenment by questioning the nature of things of everything around us and also the things beyond. They also teach about righteous living in a community. This need to understand both fundamental and also practical truths is universal.

But what sets the Jewish Wisdom tradition apart from its contemporaries is its connection to God. There is no truth outside of God’s truth. He is the Ancient of Days. He is the Almighty and there is no good apart from him and his works. The right way to live here in this world with one another must also be based on his laws. God’s word has explained to the people how they need to live with one another. God decides what is right and we do the right things to please him. There is no wisdom outside of God’s wisdom – written in his Holy Scripture.

If you are serious about learning God’s wisdom from the Scripture then you understand that there is a problem here. Obviously there are many situations in life, many questions as well, that our Holy Scripture does not address. So what should God’s people do in these situations, seek wisdom some place else? Of course not. They read God’s Law and try to find the fundamental principles and apply them in their lives.

And if you talk to some Christians today, they will say that this is what we do today. We study the Bible, seek the principles, and apply it to our lives. But I think Jesus wants us to do something more when it comes to seeking wisdom.

Because for Christians, Wisdom is not only connected to this Divine Person God. Wisdom is not only a personification of God’s work in this world like something we read in the Book of Proverbs. For us, wisdom is a person and his name is Jesus.

Let me say that again: Wisdom is a person. So even though in one hand Wisdom understands the divine things that is only knowable to God himself, on the other hand wisdom walks, eats, cries, and works in this world. Wisdom is a person and his name is Jesus.

LISTEN TO WISDOM, LISTEN TO JESUS

So what does this mean? Well it means that unlike the other Wisdom traditions in other religions and philosophies, we know wisdom not just by reading and learning but by having a relationship with this person Jesus. To practice wisdom then is to be more like this person Jesus and to do what he wants us to do.

And as we read today, when we obey his commands, when we show that we love him, he will give us an Advocate. This Advocate, this Holy Spirit, will guide us into all truths. Pay attention here: when we obey. Not when we read, not when we understand. Jesus says: when we obey then the Father will send us the Holy Spirit to guide us.

The key then is to know Jesus so much that you will be able to discern his voice every moment of your life. The more we know Jesus, the clearer we can hear the voice of the Holy Spirit guiding us. And the best way to know Jesus, is to obey him.

This is the beautiful part. God wants you to obey what you understand. You don’t have to wait to understand everything before you can start practicing. Just obey what you know. The more you obey, the more you can hear God’s Spirit, his Advocate, guiding you to greater understandings and to do greater things than you can ever imagine.

If we want to truly be successful in anything, we need Wisdom. And this Christmas we celebrate that God has given us wisdom in Jesus. If we know Jesus, we know the Father. If we obey Jesus, he will give us an Advocate – a guide, a counselor – who will help us to know what we need to know to be successful in life. Do not disregard the access you have to this wisdom beyond all human understanding. Listen to Wisdom, listen to Jesus, and you will be successful.