One cold winter night an old woman received a knock at her door. She opened it, and to her surprise, found three tall wizard-looking men standing on her porch. The first man motioned toward her and said, "My name is Wealth. His name is Well-being, and that guy over there ... his name is Wisdom."
She smiled at these strangers and said, "Nice to meet you. It sure is cold out there. Would you all like to come inside for a moment?"
Wealth spoke up and said, "That's the problem. You can only invite one of us into your home. But take your time and choose carefully. The two men whom you don't choose will have to stay behind."
The woman hadn't expected such a challenge but was excited about the proposition. So she thought long and hard about her options. She could surely use a few more dollars but wealth without well-being would not buy her happiness—and she needed to be happy even if she was homeless. And then there was wisdom, which seemed like a good idea, but the woman didn't know how wisdom could help meet her immediate needs. Confused by her options and shivering from the cold, she quickly played eeny, meeny, miny, moe, and stopped on Wisdom.
"Welp. There you have it: Wisdom, come on in!" She stepped aside to welcome her new friend, and all three men entered the door.
Shocked, the woman whispered, "But I thought you said only one could come in."
Wisdom replied, "Well, that was the other stipulation you didn't know about. If you had chosen Wealth or Wellbeing, the other two of us would've had to stay behind. But when you chose me, you got all three."
Imagine that for a nice surprise at the door—wealth, wellbeing, and wisdom, all asking for permission to enter your home! If you were that woman, which would you have chosen? You may not realize it, but one of these three is bargaining for your time right now. One of these three is pulling on your energy, shopping for your attention, and either refueling you or removing something from you.
Everything you do will either yield wealth, wellbeing, wisdom, or the lack thereof. But is wisdom as attractive to you as those other options? King Solomon would say yes, and I'm sure Jesus would say the same. In fact, Jesus did not just choose wisdom, He embodied it. So He never had to worry about wealth, wellness, health, wholeness or anything in between.
I think part of the problem with contemporary Christianity is that most of us still believe it is something we do, not necessarily something we are. When we ask ourselves "How can I become a better Christian?" we immediately run toward answers that tend to focus on morality and behavior. We think about habits we need to break and relationships we need to do away with.
I wonder if you are aware of how important it is to not simply behave like a Christian, but also to think like one, to decide like one, and to plan like one. It is our thinking that determines our behavior not the other way around. Everything we end up doing flows from the riverbed of what we know and how we put what we know into practice. It matters how we receive information, how we translate that information, and how we capitalize on our previous experiences. This in a nutshell is the virtue of wisdom. When we finally understand the importance of wisdom, we will move from the tentative state of doing Christianity to the permanent state of being a Christian.
We are all aware that life can throw us curveballs. We can end up facing unpredictable and often unavoidable circumstances. Because life will give us our own set of headaches from time to time, we should avoid creating any extra ones for ourselves. Living with a lack of wisdom is an invitation for unnecessary inconveniences. It is the equivalent of sending trouble an e-vite to your home and hoping it doesn't RSVP. If we're honest with ourselves, some challenging seasons in our lives weren't an attack of the enemy but rather the result of a wisdom deficiency.
If we are going to be Christ's ambassadors in culture and re-present Him to the world around us, then we must passionately pursue and prioritize wisdom, just as He did. This means that we need to move from conduct to character because it is our thinking that controls our doing—and when Christians begin to see godliness as more than moral living, we will become even greater Christian witnesses.
Adapted from RePresent Jesus by Dharius Daniels, copyright 2014, published by Passio, Charisma Media/Charisma House Book Group. As an ambassador for Christ on earth, what Jesus are you representing? Do you represent the Jesus of the Bible or one concocted by tradition, opinion, and a little truth? This book identifies twelve core character traits of Jesus and shows you how to apply these to your life so that you will be transformed and able to present an honest and transparent picture of Jesus to a desperate world. To order your copy click here.
Prayer Power For the Week of April 6, 2015
As we celebrate Easter, spend some time thinking about how you re-present Jesus. Use the Word to renew your mind and pray that the Lord will create in you a clean heart and renew a right spirit within you. Ask Him for the wisdom that transforms your thinking so that you will move from doing Christianity to being a Christian, and move from conduct to character. Continue to pray for God's people to unite in prayer and purpose, for the peace of Jerusalem, worldwide revival, a harvest of souls and more laborers for His harvest fields (James 1:5).