It is a noisy time in which we live, and countless voices drift throughout our days and our nights. Unless we are among the most disciplined of people, the moments have become rare when we allow our souls the rest and quiet that they so desperately need.
Instead, we consume. More and more, deeper and deeper, we fill the seconds and minutes and hours of our days with voices, words, images, messages. Often, we don’t even recognize that the media we consume is not only providing our entertainment, but feeding our affections.
There is a Voice, though, whispering quietly amongst all the other voices, echoing in the quiet corridors of those deeper places in our hearts. This Voice calls to us all, beckoning us to listen:
“Whoever is inexperienced, enter here!”
Yet we silence the Voice by filling the quiet with noise, noise, noise. We muffle the sound of her words with distractions at every turn. But still, the Voice, she calls.
Her name? Wisdom. And often falling on deaf ears, she continues to call:
“To the one who lacks sense, she says, ‘Come, eat my bread, and drink the wine I have mixed. Leave inexperience behind, and you will live; pursue the way of understanding.’” (Prov. 9:4-6)
At one time not too long ago, it was more difficult to fill the void and silence Wisdom’s voice. We did not have the convenience of constant diversions like smart phones, social media, and Netflix. But now, it is so easy, so convenient, that we do not even realize how quickly we have given in to the enticing grip of distraction.
We heed the call, instead, of another voice, a voice that is as deceitful as she is perceptive. This voice preys on our weaknesses and disguises herself as our friend. She is easily heard above the noise because she harmonizes so eloquently within the culture of our day. She cries for all to hear, beckoning us to listen:
“Whoever is inexperienced, enter here!”
She sings to us with a melody that is sweet to our distracted souls, and the words of her voice drip with what seems to be honey. We do not realize, though, that her words turn bitter once consumed, entangling us in a web of death and destruction.
Her name? Foolishness. And often falling on desperate ears, she continues to call:
“To the one who lacks sense, she says, ‘Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten secretly is tasty.’” (Prov. 4:16-18)
If life is a stage, we have before us every day the dramatic enactment of that age-old story, “Wisdom Versus Foolishness.” It is an epic and gripping tale, one that is truly “life or death” for all of the actors involved. Tragically, though, we have failed to remember that we are those actors; we are the characters in the story!
Every day, both Wisdom and Foolishness vie for our attention and beseech us to conform to their ways. Perhaps the greatest misfortune in this story is that only one of these voices will transform us for the better, our society for the better. Their paths diverge, taking their travelers in two very different directions.
Woven into the fabric of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Wisdom of God. As genuine Christ followers, we know that God’s call toward Wisdom is a call toward life. Yet I fear that for many of us, myself included, we often fail to hear Wisdom in the midst of all the noise. We have lost the art of discerning her Voice and knowing her call. What’s worse, we have trusted the deceptive voice of Foolishness, instead. Masquerading as Wisdom, Foolishness wreaks havoc on the lives of all who foolishly trust her. Her destruction knows no bounds.
The good news, though, is that for now, Wisdom persists in her call. We must listen to her, standing in the gap for this lost world, heralding the Wisdom of God. Our very lives depend upon it.
In a world that seems to be imploding before our eyes, losing its way in a sea of sinfulness and rejection of God, how can we transform our culture? Surely it will not be through politics, Facebook debates, or culture wars. Surely it will not be through one more “open letter” blog post or just five more minutes scrolling through Instagram. Surely it will not be through a passive acceptance of an amoral society.
No, true transformation will never come through any of these. For true transformation, we must heed Wisdom’s call. The challenge, though, is that we must learn to hear her whisper in a room full of shouting.
Note: In referring to wisdom as “she” in this post, I am using a poetic figure of speech called “personification,” consistent with how wisdom is portrayed in the book of Proverbs. I want to clarify that wisdom is not a separate and distinct person, but wisdom is an attribute that is founded in the very person and character of God.