The verses that originally inspired this blog are Ephesians 5.15-17.
‘This causes you to realise that you will have to be very careful about the way you live; to be wise, not foolish. Make use of every opportunity to please God by the way you live, especially as there is so much evil in the world around you. How much better to understand what God wants of you than to live in a sinful, foolish manner.’ (The Truth Bible version.)
I keep a bookmark there in my Bible so I can revisit this passage regularly, gleaning all the goodness from it for my life.
Today my eyes settled on a phrase.
‘Be wise, not foolish.’
So often when I need wisdom, (God’s way of doing things, God’s perspective for a situation), I think of James 1.5 that tells me that if I need wisdom, I should ask God. This is a good thing to do and I can testify to the fact that God always answers that prayer.
But it isn’t the only way to obtain God’s wisdom. In this verse in Ephesians, we are told to be wise, not foolish. The Greek verb used here for ‘be’ means to become or to generate something.
So, it is possible to generate wisdom in my life.
I can ask for wisdom, and God loves that, but I can also live life in a way that is producing wisdom too.
This is a far less passive approach, isn’t it? While daily asking my Heavenly Father for His heavenly wisdom, I can also be busy making the conditions of my day to day life conducive for this wonderful gift.
And the Bible is very clear what these conditions are.
Proverbs 9.10 tells us that, ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’
Knowing God’s will for me in every situation starts with an understanding of who God is and who I am. There is a wonderful humility that comes from knowing I have the potential, even the tendency, to be wrong about quite a few things, quite often.
Fearing the Lord means dreading the idea of living one minute of my life outside of God’s loving will. It means loving His ways because I love and trust Him.
I believe that I cannot produce wisdom from a heart that is unteachable or proud or independent. It is like trying to grow a beautiful olive tree in a bucket of cement.
When I really know God and how good He is, I will value every word He has spoken. I will treasure every instruction and command and warning. I will love what He loves.
Read Proverbs chapter three today. See how beautifully God’s wisdom is described. It is compared to gold and silver and rubies.
I wonder if, in 2018, wisdom is a bit out of fashion perhaps. We live in times where doing things my way and figuring it out for myself are greatly admired. We pride ourselves on not living life like the previous generation did. We can treat their advice and input like family heirlooms we don’t want to inherit, preferring to head down to Ikea instead.
But what about God’s ways? Are we too independent for those too?
I don’t have a lot of valuable jewellery but I have a few pieces that are precious to me. I have a string of pearls my parents gave me for my high school graduation and a gold locket that belonged to my grandmother. And of course, I have my wedding ring. These are precious to me. They are precious because they are made beautifully from valuable materials but mostly they are priceless to me because of who they are from.
God’s ways, His Words of life to me, should be priceless. His wisdom is like expensive gemstones, rubies and diamonds that are set in gold.
And yet, so often I think I know best and I make myself a pasta necklace like the ones my toddlers used to make for Mother’s Day. Instead of the family jewels in my jewellery box, I wear it, admiring my independence and self-reliance.
But the only way to cultivate Godly wisdom in my life is to value it.
When I can see just how beautiful God’s ways are compared to my human logic, I am in a good, safe place. It is the place where I can hear what God is saying and see what His is doing and make choices and decisions that produce life.