25 Aug 2013
How many of you would consider yourselves somewhat wise and intelligent? If you do we are told we should let our noble living show our good works with the unobtrusive humility which is the proper attribute of true wisdom. (paraphrase of James 3:13AMP) Unobtrusive humility is an interesting combination of words. It paints a picture of humility that is so real and authentic that it does not call any attention to itself, but rather stays hidden behind the curtain in order for God to alone occupy center stage.
The paraphrased passage above is the beginning of a scripture section that contrasts the wisdom from this world in opposition to the wisdom from above. It goes on to say …..
James 3:14-17 (AMP)
14 But if you have bitter jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry, selfish ambition) in your hearts, do not pride yourselves on it and thus be in defiance of and false to the Truth.
15 This [superficial] wisdom is not such as comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual (animal), even devilish (demoniacal).
16 For wherever there is jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry and selfish ambition), there will also be confusion (unrest, disharmony, rebellion) and all sorts of evil and vile practices.
17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure (undefiled); then it is peace-loving, courteous (considerate, gentle). [It is willing to] yield to reason, full of compassion and good fruits; it is wholehearted and straightforward, impartial and unfeigned (free from doubts, wavering, and insincerity).
Do you sincerely desire wisdom? If your answer is affirmative, for what purpose do you wish for wisdom? When all is said and done, at the bottom of it all, there seems to be only two basic reasons why we desire wisdom. It may be to serve God and bring Him glory ……. or it may be in some way, no matter how cleverly disguised, designed to bring glory to ourselves.
Wisdom sought to serve and glorify God is commendable and a very worthwhile pursuit. Conversely wisdom desired to promote and build up ourselves is all together foolish and worthless. Self promotion is an activity that flows from a heart attitude of pride. The Bible is clear that while God gives grace to the humble He opposes the proud. Pride goes before a fall. Pride is definitely a dangerous direction to dive.
The application of wisdom is fundamentally practical rather than theoretical in nature. Wisdom takes knowledge and wisely applies it in productive and positive ways such that the outflow of its attitudes and actions fit into the perfect plans and purposes of God. Wisdom from Above is essentially walking in the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 1:21-25 (NASB95)
21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom;
23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,
24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
We place honor and adulation upon those in our world who seem to have superior knowledge or wisdom. Our largest institutions are seriously seeking shrewd but sensible men to direct their organizations and to invest their profits and chart their courses for the future. While great profits may seem at times like our salvation, we would be wise to ask …… what be the end?
Luke 12:18-21 (NASB95)
18 "Then he said, 'This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.
19 'And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry."'
20 "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?'
21 "So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
In order to be really wise we must consider first the things of God. Jesus modeled this principal as He taught His disciples to pray. The model prayer Jesus gave to His disciples and to us started out with God and His Name. It then addressed God’s will and His kingdom. Then and only then did this prayer move to our needs and our protection.
Matthew 6:32-33 (ASV)
32 For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Wisdom from above will seek first God and His desires. It will seek to be filled, empowered and directed by God’s Spirit in every attitude and decision and action. It will pray first for the things of God and then for our own needs and the needs of our brothers.
God gives us our choice; we can pray, act, and serve God or we can pray , act and serve ourselves. The truly wise man will humble himself and pray and seek God’s face and turn from his wicked ways, that the God of heaven will respond as He has promised ….. to hear from heaven, to forgive his sins, and heal his land.