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Chapter 10 - Wisdom

The book of James which was written to believing Jews does mention something that is avaliable from God to all men.

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

The only condition on the availability of this gift from God is faith which should not be a limiting factor for a Christian.

Wisdom is a decided advantage in life. For example, it can be useful in making decisions such as avoiding entangling debt, avoiding a bad marriage, how to raise children, and how to help others.

The book of Proverbs often contrasts one who is wise with one who is a fool. This is different than the contrast between one who is smart and one who is dumb. When a dumb person has wisdom he is often said to have “common sense” (which, sadly, is not that common). A fool is something different. A fool gives little thought to his actions which are often motivated to satisfy some urge or transient fancy. A fool, suffers consequences that someone with wisdom would have seen and avoided.

A TV character once observed that all the girls in high school want to date the quarterback on the football team. The implication was that a desirable mate would be the one that was most popular. Sometimes the girl who actually does end up marrying the quarterback in later years ends up wishing she had selected someone with a better sense of humor. How much better if when she was young, her church had taught her not only the value of wisdom, but how it could be obtained.

My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path. When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: - Proverbs 2:1-11

Proverbs is known for addressing the subject of wisdom. In the verses above it can be helpful to consider the verbs (receive, incline, apply, criest, liftest up, seekest, and searchest). These all describe someone who focused and almost desperate to obtain that which will save him. That it is addressed to “My son” would indicate that it is intended for youth and that they should be intensely motivated.

Such motivation seldom arises in comfort and prosperity. Often adversity or painful consequences spur one to seek after wisdom. In a way, one might see wealth and comfortable circumstances as being harmful because of the blindness to truth they can produce;

And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. - Mark 4:19

For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. - 2 Timothy 4:10

There is a type of wisdom of the world that might be called cleverness. This sort of “wisdom” is often found in those who betray trust, perpetrate fraud, or gain advantage through deception.

Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? - 1 Corinthians 1:20

Truth might be seen as that which is absolute and unchangeable. It could be considered the ultimate reality. Wisdom might be seen as the ability to see truth.For example, young people (particularly those in college) find pleasurable sensations and camaraderie in going out drinking, Truth would reveal that there is danger in narrowing one’s life to the pursuit of sensation. Wisdom would recognize this truth and follow a different path that would have at the end something more rewarding than a hangover.

Sadly, most churches have people that are unable to recognize wisdom much less teach it to their youth. Failing to teach youth how to seek after wisdom is high on the list of church malpractice.


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