Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Do you want to be wise?

I admit “Wisdom” can sound very confusing. What does it mean to be wise? How can we practically apply wisdom on a daily basis? 

When you believe in God surely that means you are wise, right? After all did the Bibe not say the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom?

Wrong! You can be a Christian but still lack wisdom. Yes, the fear of God is the beginning (not the end) of wisdom. But let's not confuse the knowledge of God with the fear of God. As long as we refuse to obey God's commands, then we don't fear Him even though we may know Him. And this is not wisdom.

I was a Christian for many years without being wise. Yes, I was saved, but I did things that made me foolish according to the book of Proverbs' definition. When you read the many chapters of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, you will find that there are so many wise instructions on daily living that we should apply to our lives.

These books and indeed others in the Bible, are full of admonitions or instructions on wisdom. Proverbs 2:13-15 tells us that we should seek Wisdom because it is better than wealth. It goes on to tell us that when we seek wisdom, we gain long life, riches, peace, honour, etc.

For instance, we are admonished to be diligent in all our ways. In other words, if you are a worker, a student, a husband, a parent, ...whatever you do, show excellence, do it to the best of your ability. Yes it may be tough and tiring to go the extra mile, but do it to the glory of God. Besides there is great reward in being diigent, it leads to more opportunities for growth. Would you recommend an unskilled plumber or tailor to your friends? Incidentally we live in a world where few people are willing to go the extra mile or be excellent at their tasks, even Christians.

Another instruction is to flee sexual immorality especially adultery. We live in a world where the media and indeed society glorify casual sex, lust, and all kinds of sexual immorality. 

But we are told in Proverbs 2:16-19 that with wisdom we will be saved from the adulterous woman (and man I must add), who have ignored the marital covenant/vows they made before God. 

It goes on to tell us that failure to do this leads to dishonour and unnecessary pain. We have heard stories of men and women who were destroyed because of extra-marital affairs. If they were wiser, they would have avoided it.

Other instructions tell us how to treat people, such as our neighbours, our children, our husbands and wives, etc. Still others tell us how to be productive, to shun laziness, procrastination, idleness, bad friends, to be careful how and when we speak, etc. Indeed these books are a delight!

Like I said earlier, just being a Christian does not mean you automatically become wise. It is continuous journey and you get better day by day. There are some areas in my life that I am struggling with, like procrastination and not being diligent about things. I know if I continue this way, I won’t be able to fulfil the purpose God has for me. But I am determined to get help and improve. 

To do this, I am reading as much materials as I can and also trying to manage my time better. But no amount of determination can help me without the grace of God. And I depend on God for strength, not self-help, because without Him, I will not make it.

I tried self-help for my procrastination a couple of times, but I could never get myself to stick to it. It made me feel guilty, angry and hopeless. Perhaps like me, you may have an area in your life where you have not shown wisdom. You know the right thing to do but find it very difficult to stick to it, and you feel guilty every time you fall. Please don’t give up, there is help on the way.

The Bible tells us in James 1:5 that, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” It is God’s will for us to be wise and HE is willing and ready to help us. But can I just say to you my friend, no matter how hard you pray, you won’t wake up one day and find yourself wise all of a sudden. It takes time and it is a process. We can learn a lot from King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, on how to go about this process.

In 2 Chronicles chapter 1, Solomon has been made king over all Israel after the death
of his father, King David. He gathered the leaders of Israel – commanders of thousands and hundreds, judges, heads of families, etc- and spoke to them. I also believe they spoke to him as well. This is instructive, King Solomon knew he needed others, especially those older, more experienced, and wiser than him. He did not assume because he was king, he was better or more knowledgeable than others. We can learn from this to be open-minded, to read more, learn to listen, instead of always giving our own opinions which may not always be right. With this attitude, we will learn great insight from others.

The second thing he did was to seek God and offer burnt sacrifice as an offering to God. It is noteworthy that he offered a thousand animal burnt offerings that day. That was a lot! Solomon was determined to give God something special and he didn’t mind the cost involved. We can learn from this too. The Bible tells us in Romans 12:1 to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. Why? Because this the true and proper way to worship God and the kind of sacrifice He desires. When we are determined to surrender our will, our heart, our minds, our bodies…everything to God, we re-enact what King Solomon did.

After King Solomon offered his sacrifice, God appeared to him and asked him what he wanted. Solomon asked for wisdom. To do what? Defeat his enemies, amass wealth, live long? No. He asked for wisdom to govern God’s people. He asked for wisdom to serve others. He asked for wisdom to fulfil God’s purpose in his life. And God was delighted with his request. He blessed him with wisdom and with other things he did not even ask of. 

This is also instructive to us. When we offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God, and have the right motives of serving others and fulfilling God’s plans, HE comes down to help us succeed and give us more than we could ever ask or think about! The Bible says in Matthew 6:33 that if we seek God first, HE will give us “all other things.” Things like what? Food, clothing, peace, joy, strength, etc. Indeed if we would seek the face of God, instead of His hand, we would be blessed.

Dear friend, we live in deceptive times like never before. The media and society is on full onslaught to make us live defeated lives, far from God’s intentions. Only wisdom can guide us. 
Wisdom has been compared to rubies, diamonds and other precious stones. 
You don’t find them lying about on the ground. You need to dig deep and consistently to get them. But your joy at getting them compensates for all the troubles encountered.

I encourage you, be committed to finding wisdom for every day living. And as you do the Lord Himself will help you. He has promised in
2 Chronicles 16:9 "For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.”

Our God loves to bless us, He is looking for someone to be good to. Will you re-dedicate your life to Him as a pleasing sacrifice today?
I pray we all find courage, from God, to pursue wisdom and be all He wants us to be. Amen and amen.

Image1 courtesy:http://www.livingabundant.us/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/300x200xWisdom.png.pagespeed.ic.yHqHCNrq6Q.jpg 
Image2 courtesy:http://maximizingacatalyst.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/wisdom-sign1.jpg 
Image3 courtesy:http://rawchristianity.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/wisdom-stone.jpg
Image4 courtesy: http://e08595.medialib.glogster.com/media/04/04bd815f141157c57db7d87728d5acff0741c0939b8cc860f6804d9a849350a6/stock-footage-gold-spinning-shiny-diamond-diamond-hd-motion-background-in-gold-with-spinning-shining.jpg 

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