2009—Nothing to brag about?

This post was contributed by worship leader Mike Hale.

Happy New Year!  However if you are anything like me and a lot of other folks, a big part of the celebration was shouting GOOD RIDDANCE to 2009!  What a year!  Almost nothing went according to plan, and there was plenty of what felt like failure, and not much to brag about.  And when enough things flop altogether or turn out dramatically different than you thought they would, at some point you not only feel a lack of power and wisdom—you wonder if you really know anything at all.

So now its a new year and you definitely feel the need to look beyond yourself. 

Help arrives with the inspired words of the Apostle Paul. Throughout the first two chapters of I Corinthians Paul describes God’s faithful love known in fellowship with the Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  
Paul proclaims the wisdom, power and grace that is Christ crucified—and says we share that wisdom and mind of Christ in our new life in Christ!  But he reminds us that although such wisdom transcends worldly knowledge and wisdom, the life of the crucified Servant just looks foolish to the world.

In 1 Cor. 1:30-31 Paul tells us that Christ has become for us “wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.  In order, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord’.”

Jeremiah 9:23-24 says “….Do not let the wise boast in their wisdom, do not let the mighty boast in their might, do not let the wealthy boast in their wealth; but let those who boast boast in this, that they understand and know me, that I am the Lord; I act with steadfast love, justice and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight….” And Paul shows that the light of Christ provides new meaning to those words.

Singer/Songwriter Paul Baloche (right) refers to those words of the Apostle Paul and the Prophet Jeremiah in the up-tempo praise chorus I Will Boast (2006 Integrity Music).
Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom
Or the strong man boast in his strength
Let not the rich man boast in his riches
But let the humble come and give thanks
To the one who made us
The one who saved us
I will boast in the Lord my God
I will boast in the one who’s worthy
I will boast in the Lord my God
I will boast in the one who’s worthy
He’s worthy / I will make my boast in Christ alone.
During the recent Advent season we sang about Jesus being our “Wisdom from on high” in the hymn O Come, O Come Emmanuel.
O Come thou Wisdom from on high
And order all things far and nigh
To us the path of knowledge show
And cause us in her ways to go
The Wisdom of Jesus involves a life of love and a journey of faith with Jesus that supersedes lists of rules or directives.  Jesus is the Path to true freedom—to be made free from darkness and evil—loosed from the broken systems of this world and unshackled from fear, self-centeredness and resistance to the ways of God.  The Father freely chose to send the Son.  The Holy Spirit binds us to Jesus, who chose in his freedom to be the perfect offering and servant, and that's the same life of love in which we are included.

The lyrics to another old hymn, Be Thou My Vision testify to the true living Word and Wisdom, and alludes to the Trinitarian life in which by the Holy Spirit we dwell with Christ in heavenly places.  And as God’s living Word to man, in the vicarious humanity of Christ, Jesus lovingly ministers to us and shares his unique intimate knowledge of the Father and the love, life and oneness of the Father, Son and Spirit.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me Lord
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son,
Thou in me dwelling, and I with The one
Such wisdom and knowledge is still viewed as foolishness to the world, and is far above any human understanding.  Jesus is now invisible, except for what Christ reveals as the Spirit opens our eyes.  So in this broken world of suffering we pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in the heavenly realm, and we humbly proclaim with our lives of love, service and testimonies of the Gospel, that despite any appearances to the contrary, Jesus is the true Wisdom—the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6).

We boast not in ourselves, but in Christ alone.  And if life in 2009 helped remind us of that, it must have been a wonderful year after all!