“Thus says the Lord: 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, says the Lord.”
~Jeremiah 9:23-24 (NRSV)
This is a wake-up call for every single Christian and non-Christian alike, but who will hear it? Most will not. Most, moreover, yours truly included, will forget repeatedly the fundamental message of those two powerful verses above; there is only one true attainment in life, from which all worthy achievement springs from; that is the knowledge of God—by salvation, first, and then by sanctification.
We need to be constantly reminded, but due our self-conceived wisdom, self-invented might, and self-sated wealth, we tire quickly of such an eternally relevant message.
An Inconvenient Truth
The prophet Jeremiah was not a much liked person.
Whatever he heard from God, that which he was charged to preach to the masses, were unpopular messages; oracles, part-of, like the one above; gospels of truth destined for umbrage.
Jeremiah had seen much about him; evidence of deplorable acts and attitudes by a people, supposedly, of God.
They called themselves people of God but they hardly acted that way. There was one way about them that summed them up; it sums us up, too, if we’ll be honest.
The inconvenient truth is our idolatry. We have a flesh-bound obsession with fame, success, materialism, ease, and celebrity—even if by proportions, mini and micro. We don’t need to be reaching for the stars to fall for the same temptations. This is revealed by the things we seek after before we seek after God.
It’s a painful truth: we are all idolaters, hypocrites, sinners. But, as you will predict, there is a Great Hope we can invest in which will validate our need for self-actualisation, and this Great Hope will get us there because we have placed God first (Matthew 6:33), just as Jesus, our Saviour, did.
An Unlikely Boast Augments All Our Goals
If we can rescind our grip on our self-conceived wisdom, self-invented might, and self-sated wealth we are so proud of, we can gain true wisdom, might, and wealth from God.
We can only do that a day—and a moment—at a time; though, living sacrificially is engendered in habit, by surrender (another unpopular concept).
Only through knowing God will we have access to true wisdom, might, and wealth, and only through knowing God will we know ourselves.
No amount of self-improvement courses, get-rich-quick schemes, or fad diets will get us to the sustainability of our goals. They’ll leave us empty, searching for the new ‘best thing’. What we really want is to know ourselves, and that can’t be achieved, truly, without knowing God—the lover of our souls.
To know all proper sense, and source, of loving kindness, righteousness and justice we must know God. Without such knowledge there is no hope.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.