Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Paradox of Wisdom in Christianity

Proverbs 30:1-4 (NLT) I am weary, O God;
    I am weary and worn out, O God.[b]
I am too stupid to be human,
    and I lack common sense.
I have not mastered human wisdom,
    nor do I know the Holy One.
Who but God goes up to heaven and comes back down?
    Who holds the wind in his fists?
Who wraps up the oceans in his cloak?
    Who has created the whole wide world?
What is his name—and his son’s name?
    Tell me if you know!

And Proverb 12:1 says "To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction."  What is the assumption when considering wisdom, truth, and enlightenment?  Whether it's western or eastern thinking, we're talking about gathering knowledge, discovering secret truth, compiling information and obtaining it. 

But the sum truth I gathered under the assumption of gathering and self-introspective discovery did not stand as much as a crippled molding wobbly tent of dung compared to the truth path of trust in Jesus Christ.  

The Lord God towers tens of thousands of stories taller than the foolish wisdom of the world.  Compare Bukowski to Chesterton.  Compare Hunter S. Thompson to C.S. Lewis.  Those writers inspired by the word of God and the Holy Spirit which leads into all truth, compared to the writers who are inspired by misery and illicit drugs... well, there is no comparison.  

C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton would not have been able to reach the heights of truth and wisdom they had, without at first coming humbly to the feet of Jesus Christ and welcoming him into their hearts.  

I made that same choice to stumble to my knees and call upon the Lord Jesus Christ.  I did not come to that conclusion by work of reason or wisdom, but by work of drug addiction, alcoholism, depression, sleep deprivation, and utter inexhaustible misery.  When I called upon the Lord Jesus, it was the sort of inward scream for help that shutters through your own being, through your whole self, an unconditional surrender.  The sensation of the desperate cry for help must've been so sincere, so singly empty of conditional clauses that it rang true to the very throne of God himself.  

I recall the moment quite clearly.  Not so much what I was saying, but how it felt.  And relief of at least, finally, I can call on the name of the Lord.  But I would not have known whose name to call on had it not been for God the Father.  He reminded me whose name I ought to speak at that moment.  Not "save me krishna"  or "save me godish whoever"  but "Please save me Lord Jesus Christ!"

That is the beginning of actual wisdom.  C.S. Lewis said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”  How incredibly true that statement is.  

As a human being, young especially, the last thing I wanted to do was admit that I needed anybody elses help!  I wanted to do it myself.  I wanted to prove my own self sufficiency.  That has got to be a product of sin nailed to my heart.  I am of the line of Adam, as we all are.  We are all born with the sin nature on ourselves.  In retrospect I can see it's work so incredibly.  Nothing in the very untrained human desires in myself told me that I was made by and for God.  Yet.. there was something there.  Something I didn't want to believe.  I tried to hide it, to lay a pile of papers and scientific conclusions on top of that truth.  In the end it was totally buried.  But desperate misery uncovered it again.

Total admission of need for God in my life, saved my life.  I would not have come to this conclusion on my own.  Everything in the world told me to trust nothing and no one.  And upon extended inspection of the elements of culture and society, and especially government and economics, that conclusion is absolutely justified.  If I were to trust even half of the institutions,businesses, and people I meet in this world I would be in for some serious hurt.  But I learned there was one incredible exception to that conclusion, I must place absolutely trust in the Lord God of the Bible. 

It is most paradoxical.  But I've learned to love the paradoxes in the Bible.  I've also learned to love the paradoxes of 12 step recovery.  The two agree on most everything.  Of course my bottom line source for truth in the Bible.  Always remember that.  We test what is true by the word of God.  Experience is very important, but always test that experience by scripture.

For me, I always wanted to be the rebel fighting the righteous cause.  Just like Luke Skywalker leading the rebellion against the evil empire.  Or Morpheus, or Neo, fighting for the survival of the human race against the evil machines.  I wanted to be special.  The irony here is that I wanted to be a rebel, and I thought I was a part of the sort of "rebel alliance" of US politics, which is kind of a rough conglomeration of Libertarians, Anonymous Hacktivists, Occupiers, Tea Partiers, and the remnants of the anti-war left.  Maybe I was closer than I thought.  I will say this, that I see a closer representation of Christ in the works of Ron Paul, Julian Assange, and Justin Amash than I've ever seen in the works of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Al Gore, or Sarah Palin. 

But I had believed the most deceitful propaganda.  The quiet propaganda against Christianity.  Don't underestimate our enemy, Satan, or his spiritual forces.  He has it stacked so well that if I tell anyone that they're communing with demons, or that in the mainstream media and in Hollywood there is tons of demonic imagery and dark symbolism, they will immediately assume I'm a quack.  I'm not a quack, obviously.  I'm a Christian though.  And that's about as bad, when considering the social views today.

The generalizations are generally thus, Jesus Christ was a great teacher but he wasn't the son of God.
Organized religion has led to so much blood shed it shouldn't exist at all.
Christians are hypocrites.
All Priests are molesters.
 Science has disproved God.
 The Bible is no longer relevant.

And so on and so forth.  But after inspection, none of those things hold up to be actually true.  

The beginning wisdom is paradoxically not a striving to know it independently, but an initial admission of total inability to know truth, followed by a declaration of the need for God, followed by the commitment to follow God and to live as Jesus Christ did on Earth.  More so than any other truth in the Bible, the method of life lived by Jesus is to be our guide to living.  Jesus Christ lived a perfect life, he loved his friends, he loved his enemies, he healed the sick, he gave hope to those who had none, he shined a light on the religiosity of the Pharisees, he humbly washed the feet of his disciples, and then willingly died on the cross for all the evils of the world, once for all time, for all mankind, reclaiming his life on the third day, and giving final instructions to his dearest friends.  There is no other life like it in history or beyond, there is no greater example for how to live, and no humbler a God than ours, who would come in person to wash his people clean, paving the way for their redemption.  We were lost, and of no merit to be redeemed, yet we were redeemed, once for all time by Him who loves us.

The Lord God then as our sovereign, our friend, our protector, and our comforter, leads us along the path of wisdom, unveiling secret after secret, and truth after truth.  What a wonderful thing, don't you see?

Jeremiah 33:2, 3 NIV "“This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is his name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’"
I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
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