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Chapter 25 - Growing in Wisdom
Wisdom has always been difficult to define. Some see it as intelligence, however, there are many intelligent people completely lacking in wisdom. The bible often portrays wisdom as the opposite of foolishness. By considering foolishness, we may be able to get a better idea of what constitutes wisdom.
A fool thinks only of himself and his desires. He is unaware and unconcerned about consequences or even the pain his words and actions bring on his own head. In contrast, a person with wisdom is discerning and perceptive and considers several courses of action and then selects that which will provide the greatest benefit. Wisdom is seen as prudent, sober, and judicious. One wonders why so few seek this gift from God.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. - James 1:5-6
While wisdom is available from God, our ability to receive it and use it can be somewhat limited. For example, the person who sees any gift from God such as wisdom as a tool that can help him better get what he wants may be so much in the flesh that he would be deaf to what wisdom would tell him.
Another difficulty in being able to make use of wisdom is the degree to which we are captive to that in which we have invested. An example might be the scribes who asked Jesus by what authority he performed his miracles. Rather than answer them, Jesus tested them with a question. He asked them if the baptism of John was of heaven or of men. They knew if they said of men that the people would be against them and if they said of heaven then Jesus would have grounds against them. They colluded to answer that they didnít know. It is interesting that what was true never entered their deliberations. They were only interested in managing the effect. In a way, one might think that such a distance from an interest in truth might also be a powerful inhibitor of wisdom.
Those things to which we cling that arenít true or distortions of truth can make it impossible to receive or apply wisdom. We can hold a denomination, a political view, or even something like environmentalism or animal rights so highly that truth can be rejected. Without truth, wisdom becomes the wisdom of the world which is simply cleverness and maneuvering for advantage.
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