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Daily Devotional • February 26

Lauren Cripps
Heavenly Wisdom
A Reading from 1 Corinthians 1:17-31

17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel — and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power.

18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scholar? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of the proclamation, to save those who believe. 22 For Jews ask for signs and Greeks desire wisdom, 23 but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to gentiles, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

26 Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to abolish things that are, 29 so that no one might boast in the presence of God. 30 In contrast, God is why you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

My social media accounts in recent weeks have been aggressively targeted with ads for video lectures from the “world’s best” thinkers, business tycoons, activists, politicians, and artists. For less than $200 a year, I can have access to an impressive cast of experts offering insight into their toughest decisions, power-plays, artistic processes, and political wins. 

As with all good marketing, this business is not selling a product so much as it is selling status; by subscribing to our videos, it seems to say, you can become the kind of person who is conversant in everything from global politics to biomedical breakthroughs to sustainable agriculture. So hungry are we for more information, life hacks, any insider baseball that might give us a leg up, that we make ventures like this a viable business model. 

If mere information is what we are after, accessing it has never been easier. But for the Christian, wisdom comes at a higher price. As in Paul’s day, our culture prides itself on our intellectual prowess. And, as it was to the Christians in Corinth, Paul’s message is important for us to hear: knowledge will never have the power to save us. 

Jesus died not so that we would think the right things and have winsome enough arguments to persuade others of those same things. Rather, we must stake our lives on the humiliating, scandalous, life-saving message of the cross, casting ourselves entirely on the one who has the power to redeem us. It may cost us prestige, and it will certainly seem foolish to those who haven’t yet received the message. But it is good news. Heavenly wisdom is free, and yet it costs our whole lives, demanding that we empty ourselves of everything until all we boast in is Jesus Christ. 

Lauren Anderson-Cripps oversees communications and marketing for Nashotah House Theological Seminary and writes for a variety of publications, including The Living Church. Lauren currently lives in Dallas with her husband, Sam, and their dog, Tennessee Jed. 

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