For Jews demand a sign and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (I Corinthians 1:22-24)
Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you desire cannot compare with her. (Prov. 8:10-11)
Once there were two ladies, Lady Wisdom and Lady Folly.
Lady Wisdom lived in a beautiful house (Prov. 9:1) and was a gracious hostess. She prepared bountiful meals with a carefully laid table (Prov. 9:2). She sent her maidens to issue her invitation (Prov. 9:3). Lady Wisdom called out to those who were simple and naive, "To all who lack sense, come in here!" She offered a bounty of bread and specially mixed wine (Prov. 9:5). "Leave your simple ways, and live," she cried, and "Walk in the way of insight." All who went in received what she promised.
Lady Folly had her own home, too. Although she knew nothing, she was seductive (Prov. 9:13). Like Lady Wisdom, she called: "Whoever is simple turn in here!" (Prov. 9:16). Like Lady Wisdom, she offered a meal, although she lacked the hospitality of Lady Wisdom: "Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant" (Prov. 9:17). There was no specially mixed wine or delicious meat. Unlike Lady Wisdom, Lady Folly had a secret. For those who went through her door, there was a surprise: the dead are there (Prov. 9:18). Lady Folly's guests are in the depths of Sheol. Those who accepted her invitation did not know what they were getting into until it was too late. She promised them sweet water, but in reality it led to death.
Lady Wisdom and Lady Folly both gave invitations, and they sounded similar, but they led to different ends. Lady Folly's call sounded attractive: sweet water, secret bread. For a time, perhaps it was enjoyable. But the crucial difference was the consequence of eating such a meal: death as opposed to life. Lady Wisdom offered life, and she offered it openly and freely to those who would take it.
Everywhere, in public and private, God's wisdom, perfectly fulfilled in Jesus Christ, calls to us. At the same time, counterfeit versions of wisdom lurk around every corner, and they sound tempting. They offer "sweet" water, but its end is death.
How do we know when we are following Lady Wisdom or Lady Folly? How do we discern between real wisdom and counterfeit?
We must return to the wisdom of Christ as revealed in his word. If perfect wisdom is found in Christ, then his word is where we can re-visit that wisdom daily. And we must look with scrutiny at the competing wisdom. Even if it does come from someone who names the name of Christ, how does it measure up with Scripture? If we do not turn to the objective word of God to evaluate any competing wisdom, we will merely follow the wisdom of our own minds.
Lady Folly's offer pales in comparison. Lady Wisdom offers something that is better than the most precious jewels. Nothing compares to her. Don't settle for the wisdom that leads to death. Choose Christ, the wisdom of God.