Wisdom for Cultural Engagement

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight” Prov. 9:10. 

Wisdom is, first and foremost, rooted in the fear of the Lord.

As we revere and submit to God, He imparts wisdom to us through His Spirit and through His Word. He shows us how to discern good from evil, how to live peaceably with one another, and how to love our neighbors well. He helps us navigate through complex and nuanced issues with righteousness. He enables us to apply principles of godliness in our unique settings and circumstances.

To grow in wisdom, we must have humility.

If we are proud and arrogant, we won’t perceive our weaknesses or listen to the counsel of others. We won’t discern when our cultural endeavors are leading us into foolishness and sin. But if we walk in humility before the Lord, the Spirit will help us in our weakness. If we pursue Christian community and accountability, our brothers and sisters will warn us against sin and stir us towards holiness.

Wisdom is crucial to our cultural engagement and endeavors.

God’s common grace abounds throughout the world, and it should be recognized and celebrated. However, every pocket of culture carries its own temptations. And when those temptations collide with our own deceitful hearts, we need wisdom to protect us from idolatry and sin.

Wisdom helps us appreciate God’s gifts without idolizing them. It helps us recognize and enjoy the good in our broken world, without embracing what Scripture condemns as sin.

It is a fine line to be “in the world, and not of the world.” As those in the world, we are called to celebrate common grace and to steward our gifts for the flourishing of the world. At the same time, we’re called to be distinct—set apart and holy—as those who’ve been called from darkness into light.

Growing in wisdom not only helps us discern between right and wrong, but to live faithfully on mission in a dynamic world.

Wisdom helps us discern between good and better approaches to work, recreation, and evangelism. Over time, I’ve learned that while it is good for me to bring groceries to my refugee neighbors, it is better to share meals together. I’ve learned ways I can lay down my freedoms and preferences to avoid unnecessary stumbling blocks that might distract from the gospel.

Depending on our culture, calling, and context, living in wisdom will look a bit different for us all. But the more we seek Christ as the source of all wisdom, the more faithfully we will live as his witnesses in the world.

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