Tag Archives: Wisdom

What It’s For…

A catalog of toys for the very wealthy features a hammer, so well made and balanced, it costs nearly $200.  It comes with it’s own display box. You can set it on the desk in your office, smugly showing your clients and colleagues that you own a better hammer.  Big deal!  That’s not what hammers are for.

In the previous post, I explained how you can have spiritual wisdom and understanding that surpasses that of a mountaintop guru. (See: Without Boots or Beard)  But so what?  What on earth would you do with such wisdom and understanding?  What’s it for?  It’s not just for putting on display, not even on  some Tibetan peak.

Paul prayed his friends might attain spiritual wisdom…

“…so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God…”  –  (Colossians 1:10)

Spiritual wisdom is for using,  for living.  You’ve heard the old saying, “He’s so spiritual he’s no earthly good.”  Rubbish.  If you have spiritual wisdom and understanding, you live better, more fully.  Peyton Manning excels at football because he has studied the game.  He plays with wisdom.  People who have wisdom, from God’s Spirit, understand this gift is meant for living, really living.  Jesus didn’t sit around humming and pondering his belly button.  He lived a robust, energetic life, filled with purpose.

But what does “worthy of the Lord” mean?  It almost sounds as though Paul wants them to measure up so God won’t be mad.  That’s not it.  It means to live in such a way that the advantages of spiritual insight are fully brought to bear in everything you do.  If you own a Ferrari and only drive it down to the corner store for milk, you’re not using it in a manner worthy of the power under the hood.  If you have wisdom and understanding from God and don’t do anything but sit around singing hymns, you’ve wasted His power. 

Spiritual wisdom is for “bearing fruit in every good work.”. That may be as simple as giving a cup of water to someone who is thirsty.  Or, it could look like the good work of a guy I know who goes around the country, helping people clean up after a tornado or a flood. 

By the way, I’ve seen that guy’s hammer.  He doesn’t keep it in a display box…

For Best Results…

Rescue TragedyThey didn’t need to die.  If those refugees in the dinghy had only listened to their rescuers it could have turned out differently.  But, instead, they decided for themselves what to do.  Panic ensued.  People were trampled and drowned.  Heartbreaking, because no one needed to die.  If only they had listened…  (More about this below).

This world is a dinghy.  God has launched a  rescue.  We would do well to listen to His instructions.  When, instead, we make our own rules, when we decide for ourselves what works best, what’s right or wrong, eventually things go badly.  Because we don’t have the knowledge or wisdom of our “Rescuer.”  Too late, what seems good to us proves unsustainable.  What we planned as a party deteriorates into panic.  We mean well, but people die.

What causes fighting, rioting, terrorism and war?  How about starvation and disease?  Why have so many lost hope?  It’s not that God hasn’t told us how to live.  He has given us standards of righteousness and justice, love, compassion and humility.  But we know better.  By our own ideas, we chase after life and find death, both physical and spiritual.

Here’s a word for us all, for Supreme Court Justices and grocery store baggers.  For kings and cab drivers alike, For world leaders and local waiters.  Listen!  God warned us, saying:

“…They have chosen their own ways, and their souls delight in their abominations; so I also will choose harsh treatment for them and will bring upon them what they dread. For when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, no one listened. They did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me.” (Isaiah 66:3b-4)

When troubles come, frequently people bemoan the loss of the standards of humanity.  But that’s not it; it’s a loss of godliness.  We do better when we listen to the Manufacturer’s instructions.

Quotes: The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
For more about the refugee tragedy, click HERE

Real Wisdom

See if  you can identify who said this:

“Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.”

That’s a quote from Albert Einstein.  Arguably one of the most intelligent scientists to have ever lived, Einstein was humbled by his awareness of a vastly superior “Spirit.”  It’s been said that those who know the most are humble because they realize just how much they don’t know.  People who know less, frequently become cocky with the idea that they’ve got it all figured out.  Real wisdom comes packed in a life that is free of arrogance.

” Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” (James 3:13)

Bible Quotes: The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
Einstein Quote: http://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/einstein/


Swarms of vicious, rabid mice were attacking my son, nibbling at his legs.  Screaming in terror, he couldn’t hear my voice as I told him to remove his 3-D glasses.  He kept freaking out.  I shouted at him: “Take off your glasses!”  When he finally heard me, registered that it was my voice, believed me and then tentatively reached up to remove his glasses, the mice instantly retreated into the confines of the movie screen at the Walt Disney theater.  But for awhile there, he was too terrified to listen, much less obey.

The same principle is in play when we are stressed out or suffering and ask God for wisdom (See: Wise Up).  God gives wisdom, generously and without finding fault.  But if we are too distracted by our fears to listen, it does no good.  That’s why James added this next part to his teaching on asking for and receiving God’s wisdom:

“But when he asks [God for wisdom], he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” (James 1:6-8 – with my added explanation in brackets)

We’ve all experienced the paralysis of indecision, when our minds resemble squirrels caught in the middle of the road.  Doubt can stop you dead in your tracks.  Satan’s first strategy in the Garden of Eden was to inject doubt between the humans and God.

” …He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”” (Genesis 3:1b)

When you ask Him for wisdom, you could doubt that God would answer, doubt His wisdom is true, or doubt that it is really God Who you have heard.  Any one of those doubts would interfere with your ability to hear His voice and apply His wisdom.  The solution for that is practice – practice before you really are in a desperate need.  If you get in the habit of asking God for wisdom, listening for His response, and following what He tells you, soon you will be able to recognize His voice and distinguish it from all the other voices.  With practice, you will learn to trust and follow what He tells you.

You will be very glad you practiced, the next time you get attacked by mice…

Quotes: The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Wise Up

She was alone and afraid.  The night before, she had made a tough but courageous medical decision but now, as early daylight began to seep into her hospital room, fear came with it.  She prayed, asking God to send her something to encourage her.  Almost immediately a doctor came into her room and sat by her side.  “I was not scheduled to see you until later today, but something prompted me to come now,” he said.   He was literally Heaven-sent!

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)

There are times when it is appropriate to pray for rescue, for healing, for money, for material things.  It is always appropriate to pray for wisdom.  When we ask God for wisdom, He gives generously, not grudgingly and He doesn’t hold it against us that we need to ask.

But what is wisdom?

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.” (Psalm 111:10)

Fear of the Lord is not like fear of spiders.  This kind of fear is an attitude of profound respect and reverence, combined with humility.  The captain of a nuclear submarine isn’t afraid of the sub, but must “fear” it; he must maintain a humble awareness of her power and a respect for doing things the right way.  Or else!   Fear of the Lord is similar.  It’s a profound respect for the power, sovereignty of God, a humble attitude that acknowledges His unlimited understanding.  When you come with that attitude before God, asking Him for wisdom, it is a prayer to understand what He sees, a prayer for guidance to do things the right way.

God hears a prayer like that and answers it generously, without finding fault.  Sometimes He simply shows us, giving us new insight and peace.  Sometimes He sends a doctor.

Quotes:  The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.