The World's Way is Not God's Way
Written nearly a hundred years before Jesus’ birth, the Book of Wisdom is possibly the last book of the Old Testament to be written. The beauty of its language is second only to the Psalms. Known as the “Wisdom of Solomon” the circumstances of the book’s books origin makes Wisdom more than beautiful, they make it timely for us today.
Wisdom was written for Jews living in Egypt, probably in Alexandria. Alexandria was highly influenced by Greek culture and philosophy, along with the influence of science, was very secular. God had no role in what might be called “Greek wisdom”. This created a crisis of faith amongst the Jews with secular philosophies and ideals.
Our world suffers from much of the same. We are immersed in a culture that is highly secular, that holds Christianity in disdain and believes that we exist only for ourselves. This view is the deadly part of human secularism. Christians struggle to hold on to virtues no longer held by most of society. We too need strength in our resolve to follow God.
The Book of Wisdom reminds us of our dependence on God. All things are from God and all people are called to serve Him. We are called by Jesus to turn our back on our father and mother – strong words – but if we are to follow Jesus and become true disciples, then father, mother, wife, husband, children – everyone and everything – is to take second place to our love for God.
We are also reminded that this attitude is a choice, and it’s a difficult choice. We are to make the choice to die to everything except our love for God. The choice is not easy, for it means that we will find ourselves opposing many popular cultural attitudes.
We throw away friends. We crave the death penalty and harsh punishments and to people who have wronged us. Forgiveness is tough. Unfortunately this is not the way to discipleship. Obviously we can not let violent criminals run free, but we cannot repay violence with violence.
Wisdom urges us to pay close attention to what our culture would have us do, but to pay closer attention to what God would have us do. Our Church works hard to teach the way of the Gospel. We are ridiculed for many of our beliefs and values, and, to their shame, many Christians dismiss the Gospel to avoid culture’s disdain. However, we are counseled to be wary of the way of the world. The world’s way is not always God’s way.
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