How to Be a Wise Man (or Woman) in 3 Easy Steps

What in the world are “magi”? Strong’s Concordance defines the word this way: a magus; the name given by the Babylonians (Chaldeans), Medes, Persians, and others, to the wise men, teachers, priests, physicians, astrologers, seers, interpreters of dreams, augers, soothsayers, sorcerers etc.

It’s a pretty broad job description, isn’t it?

Matthew, one of Jesus’ disciples, writes about the wise men: After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him'” (Matthew 2:1-2, NIV).

Something in their education and experience told the wise men that this particular star was unusual, and the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy about the birth of a king.

Whatever it was that told them this, they dropped everything—their schedules, their jobs, their families, their friends, their familiar places of living—and went together to find Jesus.

Why? Because they knew the most important thing they could do in this moment of their lives was just that. Find Jesus, the king, and then worship him. But they also knew that their destination was far. And as the old saying goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Wise men, indeed!

What if you grabbed another person or two this year and did the same? You’re just three steps away!

Step 1: Commit to someone. Ask your spouse to pray and read the Bible together with you in 2015. In my humble opinion, way too few marriages feature spouses that pray and read the Bible together daily. Just saying. Alternatively, you could do the same with your children, or a buddy from church or your growth group. If you’re feeling particularly outreach-minded in 2015, you could even select someone from work, or school, or your neighborhood.

Step 2: Commit verbally. Say to the person(s) you have selected “Let’s do this! Let’s go search for Jesus, the King, together. We’ll pray with each other each day, share our SOAP journals, and go together to worship Jesus every day this year.”

Step 3: Commit the time. Put it on your calendar. Block out a daily opportunity with your fellow “wise man” when you can meet (even over the phone or via text) and share your thoughts about the King. Don’t forget to clear a space for prayer together daily, too.

Lord, help me to find you daily in the gospel. Help me to find someone with whom I can share this daily journey. And then, put your Spirit in my heart so that we may respond—mind, body, heart and soul—with worship.

Our reading for Friday, January 2, is Genesis 2:18 – 4:16, Matthew 2:1-18 and Psalm 2:1-12.

Header image based on "Orion Nebula" by Familiar, CC by 2.0

A Stark Contrast

Know your path, the Bible teaches us. Because there’s a stark contrast in the two paths we can follow in life. One is well-worn, one traveled lightly.

The destinations differ too. One leads to emptiness and destruction. No, that emptiness and destruction does not always arrive in this life. But, yes, always at some point it does.

The other path, less-frequented, runs beside the “brook” we call the Bible. That path, the author of Psalm 1 declares, leads to fulfillment, hope, and most of all, life.

That’s because that path leads us to Jesus, to the cross, and ultimately, to the empty tomb.

And finally, the company we travel with will differ. One path has people who trust what they read in the Bible. Sometimes they trust boldly, but often meekly. 

The other path has those who do not trust. Sometimes they doubt quietly and respectfully but often, sadly, they doubt with derision and contempt.

Where will you walk in 2015?

“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lordand who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction” (Psalm 1:1-6, NIV).

Guide my steps and the steps of the ones I love along the path that runs beside your word. Help me to delight in your law, O Lord. Most of all, may 2015 be a year of meditating on your grace as you reveal it to me in the gospel.

Our reading for Thursday, January 1, is Genesis 1:1 – 2:17, Matthew 1:1-25 and Psalm 1:1-6.