Proverbs 3:18. She [Wisdom] is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;
those who hold her fast are called blessed.
The Bible opens with the Tree of Life and it closes with the Tree of Life. In Eden it was planted at the center of the garden. Like a throne in the inner chamber of a temple, the tree is where man would meet God and find his eternal, abundant life of shalom. In the New Jerusalem the Tree of Life will grow once again, and the nations will come and eat of its fruit before the face of God. All will be healed, the curse will be lifted, and those who love God will reign with him forever (Rev. 22:1-5).
Wait. What about right now? What about our lives today and every day?
Proverbs tells us that there is still a Tree of Life for us. God’s wisdom. We don’t have to wait until the end of time to find God’s abundant life. His life giving wisdom is available to us right now. You can lay hold of it and eat any time you want.
In the Bible, God’s life and God’s wisdom are the same thing. The Bible is the story of God offering us his life to save us from our sins. Or we might say, the Bible is the story of God offering us his wisdom to save us from our foolishness. This is really important for us to understand. God’s eternal life is not our sin filled, foolish life going on forever and ever. Praise God! Rather, God’s eternal life is HIS life of grace, love, and peace going on forever and ever. God’s eternal life is therefore a higher level of life. And God’s wisdom is a heavenly wisdom.
But here’s the good news of the Bible: God’s higher life, his heavenly wisdom, is freely available to everyone. God’s wisdom isn’t something you have to figure out. It’s something you receive.
The Tree of Life illustrates this truth. Just take and eat and you will live. And the book of Proverbs illustrates it as well. In Proverbs God’s heavenly wisdom is available for everyone on earth who would trust in him with their whole heart. In Proverbs, every person can be wise, happy, and blessed, even the fool. Why? Because every person can know God and his grace, and every person can trust God and his grace.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t read Proverbs this way, and we fail to see God’s wisdom as grace. We see God’s wisdom as another thing we have to figure out (the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil). Yes, wisdom helps us figure things out, but wisdom itself isn’t something we figure out. Wisdom is a way to live. It’s a response to life. It’s having the same answer to every question. It’s making the same choice at every crossroads. The choice to trust God and love sacrificially. Wisdom is choosing life over death, but more precisely, it is choosing life through death.
Wisdom is Jesus.
1 Corinthians 1:24. but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
Jesus came to show us how to live. How to be wise. How to respond to life. How to choose life over death, and how to choose life through death. And Jesus didn’t rely on his own knowledge of good and evil. He didn’t trust in his own understanding. He listened to God. Jesus had the same answer to every question: fear God and love sacrificially.
But Jesus didn’t just show us how to be wise. He IS wisdom. He is the Tree of Life that was chopped down for us. He allowed himself to die and be put into the ground for our sake. And then, as a seed that must die in the dirt in order to live again, Jesus passed through death and into life for us. That’s heavenly wisdom. That’s God’s life. Life through death.
“To live is Christ” means that Christ is our wisdom. He is our Tree of Life. Take. Eat. Stop trying to manufacture wisdom and instead receive it. Receive Christ’s sacrificial love as your response to all of life. Take hold of him, live each day through dying, and be called blessed.
How have you tried to be wise lately? Is wisdom something you’ve received or achieved?
You in Christ
How does knowing that Christ is in you change how you respond to life? How does it make you wise?
Christ in you
Where can the wisdom of life through death be your wise response today?