14 But you must continue with the things you have learned and found convincing. You know who taught you. 15 Since childhood you have known the holy scriptures that help you to be wise in a way that leads to salvation through faith that is in Christ Jesus.
The fact that the author of 2 Timothy talks about being “wise in a way that leads to salvation through faith” would seem to imply that there is also a way to be wise that leads neither to faith nor salvation.
The wisdom of the world is perhaps obvious. It consists of messages we get all the time – both explicitly and implicitly:
- Do unto others BEFORE they do unto you.
- Think of yourself first (and often!)
- Wealth is the only real security.
But I suspect if you’re reading this, you don’t often find yourself falling for those kinds of blatant messages that counter the gospel of Jesus. I do imagine that it’s easier for you – just like it is for me – to embrace another kind of wisdom that leads away from both faith and salvation.
Too often I am tempted to believe that understanding alone is enough to get me through. I imagine that if I study enough, if I know the right answers, if I assess the situation correctly, if I act strategically, I will always achieve a good result.
I imagine I can think my way out of any problem. Unfortunately, I’m wrong.
If that were true, I wouldn’t need a Savior. I wouldn’t need faith. I wouldn’t need God to step in and rescue me when I felt completely and utterly clueless.
I can’t always think my way out, but I can always pray my way out!
The scriptures are a constant witness to the fact that as humans, we don’t have all the answers. When you see that Bible on your bedside table, on your shelf, or in the sanctuary, let it be a reminder to you to keep looking for the answers in God.
by Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
How do you go about solving a problem? Do you analyze it to death, or do you follow your gut? Do you remember to pray and read the scriptures, or do you rely on wisdom you gain from other study and reading? How might God’s wisdom transform your perspective on a problem you’re facing right now?
Prayer: Holy God, source of all faith and wisdom, author of salvation, remind us that we can’t think our way out of everything. When we are tempted to solve a problem ourselves, remind us that you are always ready to share wisdom with those who seek it (James 1:5). Amen.