Recently, I had the privilege to speak at a youth retreat for a youth group* in Oklahoma. We went way into the mountains and stayed at ‘ballin’ cabin, and in the first evening there I made the lofty attempt to aim us in the direction of understanding what it means to grow in wisdom.
Yea, blame the thin air. If you’ve ever done this, you know it’s no easy task! Couple this with the diversity (and often, inexperience) of a group ranging from jr. high to soon-to-be-graduates (not to mention the adult sponsors) and suddenly we have another mountain to be climbed – only this one is spiritual and intellectual!
Our Prime Example
Thinking it clever, I used this three-day retreat to walk us through one of very few verses on Christ’s time as a youth: Luke 2:10. In preparing, I ended up constructing the flow-chart you see above…
Clearly this is no easy subject to take notes on, so my goal, rather than giving five points and a song, was to open their eyes to the wonder and complexity that is God… that is wisdom… that is knowing and growing in Christ.
It was to say, this whole “growing up thing” isn’t about a few simple steps, a few lofty goals, and a little bit’o luck. It is about being completely and utterly enthralled with the grander of God, the love of his son, and the ever-present, overwhelming, guiding, immense person of the Holy Spirit.
Even if I were a thousand times my size, with intelligence to match, I could jump into the ocean of God’s wisdom and find only that I have forever to swim. I would make no ripple on any shore, but instead have no mistaking that I was to be completely consumed in his depths.
So… I’m convinced I’m often still a better writer than speaker, and I ultimately I ended up showing them this flow-chart in hopes that it could clarify some thinking. We then spent the next couple days in more “point driven” teaching, but still, I’ve thought of this concept ever since.
It Comes From Jesus… And Goes Back Again!
As you possibly can tell from my thought flow, I believe, in short form:
God is the author of wisdom.
His very words are wisdom… (Prov 8:22-36)
Jesus is God’s word in human flesh…
Jesus came full of grace and truth… (John 1:14
Jesus was the fullness of God and the greatest example of humanity as well… (Col 1:19)
Whatever Jesus said, did, and taught is the very essence of wisdom.
Ah! But, see the problem? It comes from him, and goes back to him! How does one communicate that Jesus grew in wisdom when indeed it’s a circular statement to say Jesus simply grew in becoming more like himself. You certainly should never teach a jr. high or high-schooler to do that with themselves ever!
Obviously, its simple to state that Jesus was fully man and had to still become “like God” in that restrict-able sense, but it doesn’t provide a great way to communicate what it means for you and I to grow in wisdom.
It’s all so circular and connected it’s both astounding and confounding!
How Do You Communicate “Wisdom”?
Not to be vainglorious, but I have often been told I am gifted with wisdom. It’s a measure of grace from God I’m honored to be entrusted with, yet the ongoing irony of one gifted with wisdom not being able to explain how another should grow in wisdom humors me.
It’s not just myself, but I have for years, and even quite recently, heard many a man and woman whom I would say possess wisdom not be able to communicate it in a satisfactory sense.
It’s no secret that I am not much of one for our fascination with simplifying everything as an honorable and commendable practice, and could thus not easily be satisfied, but I repeatedly return to my own circular thought flow as the most complete I have:
It all begins with Jesus, and it all goes back to Jesus. God’s plan has always been for Christ to be the ultimate giver, receiver, and example of everything in between.
So the best I can tell you is to open your eyes to see the vastness and wonder of the world in which you wade in. So for growing, realize that you can dive, and swim, and behold more than you can even comprehend or communicate, but if being full of grace and truth is how Jesus came, then clearly this is how wisdom exists.
*Shout out to First Baptist Church Guymon, OK youth and crew! :)
So I extend this to you. How do you communicate wisdom – especially how to grow in it? What are some of the best methods you’ve heard? Please share any thoughts and links you have down below in the comments!