Tuesday, December 6, 2016

True Wisdom

Wisdom generally is a good thing, but there are dangerous pitfalls to avoid in the pursuit of it. One of the key snares involved is that of pride (James 3:14,15; 1 Corinthians 8:1; 3:18-20). Pride can be destructive and lead to other sins such as envy and strife (Proverbs 16:18; 13:10; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7). We think we know something and become proud of it. Then we feel we need to fight with everyone who disagrees with us and envy anyone who seems to know more. Now wisdom is more than just knowledge; it is the ability to apply knowledge (1 Kings 3:16-28). But even this, when approached wrongly, can result in our being puffed up. This can happen in matters of secular wisdom. But it also can happen in areas of spiritual wisdom, if taken the wrong way. It is as easy to become proud in this area as any other. How do we avoid this?   

True wisdom is peaceful and merciful (James 3:17,18; Romans 12:9-21; Colossians 4:5,6). This wisdom starts with the fear of God (Proverbs 1:7; Job 28:20-28; Isaiah 6:1-5). It then proceeds to the Cross (1 Corinthians 1:18-25; 2:1-5; Jeremiah 9:23,24), where the wisdom of God is supremely displayed. And ultimately, this wisdom will lead us to live to serve others with humility, rather than focusing on our own wisdom (Matthew 22:36-40; Romans 13:8-10; Philippians 2:1-4). For it is only as we see ourselves in view of these things that we put any wisdom we might claim to have in perspective.

You see, godly wisdom does not come simply from knowing things or even from applying what we know, but from the right attitude toward things. Particularly toward God. I may know a great many things, even practical things, and not be very wise before God. Or I may know much less and be wise in using what I know. Wisdom involves, not merely knowing the facts, but having the right moral character and employing those facts in its service. And that right moral character comes from knowing and following the truth of God. It is as we truly know God and follow Him that we become truly wise. And this leads, not to the jealousy, strife, and competition we so often notice in human wisdom. But rather, wisdom in the things of God leads us to live for others, instead of ourselves. Because it leads us away from trusting in ourselves and toward trusting wholly in God (Proverbs 3:6,7; Hebrews 11:6; Psalms 127:1,2).

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