Solomon, the third king of Israel, wrote more about wisdom than any other biblical writer. In his writing, he laid out three kinds of people who lack wisdom. Eventually, people in each of these categories need wisdom . . . but they may not find it.
Every day brings new questions. Should I stay? Should I go? Buy it? Sell it? Start it? Stop it? Did you know there's a question that makes it easy to determine the answer to all the other questions? It's true. All you have to do is ask it!
On-Demand God, the God who responds to fair and selfless requests the way we would; like a genie in a bottle, does not exist. While we have permission to ask God to ask God for anything, God has the right to say “no” to our requests. God my not give us what we ask for, but he will give us what we need: sustaining grace.
Body-guard God…the God who doesn't allow bad things to happen to good people…the God that will protect you from all things harmful, does not exist. Your personal circumstances do not (necessarily) coincide with God’s feelings about you. God’s apparent inactivity in your life is not a reflection of his existence, presence or activity in the world…or your world.
There was once a version of Christianity that was awe-inspiring. Once upon a time . . . Jesus stood against the injustice of an empire and the hypocrisy of the temple. He introduced God as Father. He taught his followers to love their enemies and forgive everyone. Jesus never wrote a word or traveled farther than he could walk. But he taught a way of thinking, believing, and behaving that, though it was foreign and seemingly impractical, changed the world forever. Jesus isn’t finished changing the world.
Is our version…your version of Christianity worth the price paid for it? What does that version look like? The New Testament records that early Christians didn’t fear loss or even death. They were humble because their confidence wasn’t in themselves; it was in Jesus. That faith in who Jesus was and what he had done for them freed them to boldly love others. Does our faith look like that?
With danger and uncertainty in the world…with division, violence, terrorism and mainstream and social media filled with stories that feed fear…in an election year with a nation that is utterly divided, filled with anger and angst and divisive rhetoric, it’s difficult not to be anxious and afraid, to take sides and to operate out of fear. But Jesus offers us another option.