Making a living vs Making a life.
"Walk carefully,not as fools but as wise." Ephesians 5:15
Too much emphasis in our world is placed upon the acquisition of knowledge, personal IQ, higher education and financial success but too few people are eager to pursue wise living or wisdom.
Wisdom is the ability to use knowledge. Wise people know what to do in each situation, when to do it and why. I desire to be a wise person. I turn 46 this month and unfortunately I can count many unwise choices I've made during these years. It's seems harsh to say, but in making unwise decisions, I've defined myself at those times as a fool, proverbially kicking myself in anger, sadness and frustration, regretting many unwise things I've done and said. Although I have asked the Lord's forgiveness for my unwise choices over the years and believe I am fully forgiven, the affects of some of those decisions I am still seeing today. And I'm not the only one paying for past decisions, as every poor choice I've made has hurt others as well.
It pays to be wise.
"Wisdom isn't something theoretical, it's very practical that affects every area of life. It gives order and purpose to life; discernment in making decisions; provides fulfillment in life to the glory of God. Wisdom keeps us in harmony with the principles and purposes that the Lord has built into his world so that as we obey God, everything works for us and not against us. This doesn't mean we don't experience trials and difficulties...But it means we have the ability to deal with these adversities successfully so that we grow spiritually and the Lord is glorified. W. Wiersbe. ('Be Skillful. Commentary on Proverbs')
True wisdom can only be seen through the lens of God's truth. Wise people look at the world through biblical glasses. They value what God values- not what the world deems as valuable. The Psalmist said.." Cast my eyes away from worthless things.." There are certainly a myriad of worthless things out there that the world tries to convince us are important. But don't fall for the deception. It's one of Satan's schemes to lead us away from us making a life God has intended for us- a life that brings the most fulfillment, joy and peace.
Over the past couple of months, I have been reading Warren Wiersbe's commentary on the book of Proverbs, 'Be Skillful' and was reminded again that the "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction." (Prov. 1:7) Then , in verse 9, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."
There are at least 18 references to the fear of the Lord in Proverbs. It's an important issue to grasp for by it we gain wisdom.
What is the 'fear of the Lord'?
I like this definition from Charles Bridges..
'It is that affectionate reverence by which the child of God bends himself humbly and carefully to his Father's law. His desire is to please Him.... to not sin against Him.'
The book of Proverbs was written to give us wisdom, instruction, understanding, prudence, knowledge, discretion, learning and counsel.
It pays to read the book of Proverbs- and often.
We can look at each of these words in another way:
Instruction = discipline.
Understanding= grasping truth
Prudence= sees reason behind something
Knowledge= skill and ability to distinguish
Discretion= ability to plan after understanding a matter
Learning= to lay hold of something
Counsel= wise guidance that steers in the right direction.
The world tells us we need to make a living and then enslaves us with what it deems the way to get there. But God urges us through His Word, that by following His ways and fearing Him, it will lead us to make a life worth the living.
Wise people know that there is so much more than this life but it's in this life we invest into our eternal life to come.
Wise people seek God's direction for their lives.
Wise people learn God's truth.
Wise people obey God's will.
Wise people share God's blessings.
Wise people submit to God's discipline.
Wise people enjoy positive relationships with others.
Wise people enjoy God's care.
Wise people flee from sin.
Wise people associate with wise people.
Wise people are good friends.
Wise people discipline their speech.
Wise people work hard and are honest and generous.
Wise people curb their spending and don't get into debt they can't handle.
Wise people seek to influence others to trust the Lord.
Wise people are not necessarily old(er) people :)
If like me, you read this list and feel you don't quite measure up, don't be discouraged. But instead, look to Jesus and learn from Him.
"In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (Col. 2:3)
Jesus is our best example to follow. Read the four gospels for insight into how He lived while on earth, what He saw as important, how He treated people, the way He spend His waking hours, etc, etc.
It's also comforting to know that we have the Holy Spirit within us who illuminates the scriptures to us and guides us in right living.
"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godly living." (2 Peter 3:1)
You won't become wise by scrolling through your Facebook or Instagram feed, by reading trashy magazines, watching the best news programmes, the latest reality shows or even Dr.Phil, Ellen or Oprah!(Although it continues to amaze me how many Christians hero worship such individuals!) Neither will attending numerous conferences for 'professional development' or copious study for another qualification make you wise. You won't get wiser just by reading this blog either :)
Open your Bible. Learn from the author, our altogether all wise God. Ask Him to give you wisdom. Like He did for Solomon, the writer of Proverbs, He promises the same for you.