Wisdom – Where Does This Light Come From?

Depositphotos_26343203_m-2015    Drawn to the Light

WISDOM – A moral rather than an intellectual quality. Wisdom may be regarded not as a mere personification of the attribute of wisdom, but as a divine person. Easton’s Bible Dictionary

Some people inaccurately use the words “wise” and “intelligent” interchangeably. Intelligence does not automatically beget wisdom, nor is wisdom always borne simply out of intelligence. I have known a few individuals with a wealth of wisdom who would not be classified as intelligent in a scholarly sense. Conversely, there are highly intelligent scholars who are bereft of wisdom. Which, then, is to be more desired? If we accept the premise that ones’ intelligence (IQ) and wisdom both come from God, which holds more value to God?

Using the online search engine for Bible Gateway, I found six verses concerning intelligence and 214 verses on wisdom. This suggests that the Author of the Bible is much more interested in the spiritual wisdom of our knowledge rather than mere intellect. A further comparison would be to classify the rank of these attributes in our children—would we rather our children be wise or just book smart? We want the best of both gifts for them, of course; but if forced to choose, I choose wisdom.

Think of wisdom as a divine person as you read the following verses and enjoy the wisdom of Proverbs (NASB):

  • “How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding. For its profit is better than the profit of silver, and its gain than fine gold. She (wisdom) is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her.” Prov. 3:13–15
  • “The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; and with all your acquiring, get understanding. Prize her, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her.” Prov. 4:7–8
  • “Do not reprove a scoffer, lest he hate you. Reprove a wise man, and he will love you.” Prov. 9:8
  • “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Prov. 9:10
  • “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” Prov. 10:19
  • “When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom.” Prov. 11:2
  • “There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Prov. 12:18
  • “Through presumption comes nothing but strife, but with those who receive counsel is wisdom.” Prov. 13:10
  • “Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words.” Prov. 23:9
  • “A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it back.” Prov. 29:11

How often we try to do things our own way, only to come up short in the “wise” column. Regret renders us once again feeling inadequate and unwise, as we chastise ourselves for acting impulsively before considering all angles of our action. The unmistakable fact is that we are not naturally creatures of humility. And when success does come, we want to beat our breast like an Olympian Gold Medalist and point to our victory, taking all the credit. Yet, even when we refuse to acknowledge the Source of enlightenment for our success, it remains God who gives us the wisdom to accomplish great things.

“Nothing we desire compares with wisdom – more precious than jewels, more profitable than gold.” This statement evokes visions of that which is beautiful, unattainable, costly and rare. And God’s Word tells us that none of it – not titles, talents, mansions, Maseratis, promotions, physical prowess, prestige, property, fame or fortune – compares with Wisdom. So, let us seek God to reflect His Wisdom – and become more precious than jewels, more valuable than gold.

Judgment

Heart and brain on a balance scale. Digital illustration.

Today, I am going to offer you a little more than usual in this article on Judgment. In my book, First Fruits, each day has a short devotional written in the first person of God in order to give the reader a glimpse into God’s heart as He has revealed Himself to me during the writing sessions. This daily message and the weekly precept that follows are on Judgment:

DAILY MESSAGE (written in the first person of God) : “Do not judge lest you be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1-2 (NASB)

“My Word refers many times to the consequence of judging others. This warning is repeated because a judgmental attitude requires constant awareness. It takes diligence to refrain from slipping into this mode of seeing your neighbors’ weaknesses, while being blind to your own. You must understand and accept that your imperfections are just as obvious to others as their imperfections are to you. Therefore, remember that you will be judged by the same measure you use to judge others.”

And now, the WEEKLY PRECEPT of Judgment (written in my voice) …

What emotion wells up inside you at the mention of the word judgment? Are you soothed by it or agitated? In a court of law, life changes in an instant when the court’s judgment is read. A victim might receive some consolation when their offender is convicted. Because our judicial system is not perfect, however, the innocent may go to prison. They are sometimes sentenced to death by execution. Then, due to new DNA evidence, their convictions must be posthumously overturned. Judgment can be tragic.

Or how about the way you feel when others judge you for the way you talk, the way you look, the friends you have, the color of your skin, your size, your religion or your education? Bullying has become rampant in our schools where children have not been taught the Golden Rule: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31 (NIV) Regardless, if you are a student or an adult, remember that even playful kidding around can cause harm. Beyond the well-known mantra, “Judge not, that ye be not judged,” Matthew 7:1 (KJV), God’s Word has more to say on this topic:

  • On good judgment: “Teach me knowledge and good judgment; for I trust your commands. Psalm 119:66 (NIV)
  • On anger: “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.” Matthew 5:22 (NIV)
  • On speech: “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every empty word they have spoken.” Matthew 11:24 (NIV)
  • On God’s judgment: “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?” Romans 2:1–3 (NIV)
  • On mercy: “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” James 2:12–13 (NIV)
  • On our own judgment: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10 (NIV)

God’s Word bids us to think before we speak, and beyond that, to seek His wisdom for our thoughts as well as our actions. In our endeavor to become more like Christ, we need to leave judgment to God and show others the same mercy and grace we have been given.

Forgiveness

Depositphotos_104166632_l-2015                        Forgiveness costs.

The price involves relinquishing part of yourself, a part that may have comforted you for a very long time. When you are hurt by someone, it is human to feel justified in hanging on to the pain long after everyone else has forgotten about it. But, in the end, what have you accomplished? Pride interferes with your ability to clearly assess the damage being done to you as you hold on to anger and resentment.

God’s Word is plain on this act of forgiveness in Matthew 6:14–15 (The Voice):“If you forgive people when they sin against you, then your Father will forgive you when you sin against Him and when you sin against your neighbor. But if you do not forgive your neighbor’s sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Is it hard to forgive someone who has taken the love of your life from you? Absolutely! Is it hard to forgive someone who tells lies about you to make themselves feel good? You bet. Does it demand every God-filled part of you to forgive someone who hurt you as a child or teen? Yes! But do we have a God who is able to do “exceedingly, abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us?” Ephesians 3:20 (NASB). All praise to Him—the answer is yes!

The Message translates Psalm 130:3–4 like this: “If you, God, kept records on wrongdoings, who would stand a chance? As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit, and that’s why you’re worshiped.” Forgiveness is God’s habit—what a beautiful thought! So, as we become more like Christ with an intentional daily effort at living our life God’s way, can we not form an intentional habit of forgiveness? If we ask to see others through the eyes of God, will it not allow us to have compassion on them just as He has compassion on us?

When you think of the ultimate reason to forgive those who have hurt you, you need only to look at the cross. Jesus hung there in agony, watching them spit upon him, listening to their mocking as they cast lots for his clothing. Enduring the worst pain and humiliation man had to offer, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34 (KJV)

Jesus, of course, was right. They had no idea they had crucified the Son of God. It is probable those who have hurt you have no idea of the deep and lasting pain they have caused. But God knows. Ask Him to take this burden from you and give you the courage to follow in His footsteps of forgiveness.