In early March, I wrote a few words on one of my favorite passages in all of scripture, Job 28. To me, this chapter is an incredibly visual depiction of man’s search for wisdom, knowledge, wealth and fame. It concludes with a broad answer to this search. A poetic and convicting response for all of us to consider in our search for true wisdom and understanding. (If you would like to review that entry, click here).
The reason I am referencing Job 28 is that Sunday’s message from Pastor Beaty touched on a more practical / applicable side of true wisdom. While continuing the study on Acts, Pastor David shared the connection between’s Paul’s wisdom, when responding to a demon possessed, fortune telling slave girl in Acts 16, and the instructions we find in James 4 that enable us to find Godly wisdom. The summary points include:
1. Love NOT the World (v. 4) - This shouldn’t be confused with loving God’s creation or those in the world, but more specifically James is referencing the characteristics of this world; cravings, lust, boasting, selfishness and darkness. James says that friendship with these types of attributes, those separated from obedience to God, is actually “hatred” of God. In other words, to be in the world, but not of the world.
2. Submit to God (vv. 6-7) - Our safety from the darkness and our light on the path to wisdom, begins with a security that we only find in fully submitting to God.
3. Pursue Holiness (v. 8) - We are called to purify our hearts. If we think about one new testament reference to a “demon spirit” as being “unclean," we can better appreciate the clean mind and heart that we must pursue in order to find wisdom.
4. Walk Humbly Before God (vv. 6, 10) - God “opposes the proud, gives grace to the humble.” Think about how many Proverbs speak to the idea of the “proud fool” or the wisdom that comes from humility.
5. Avoid Slander (vv. 11-12) - Wisdom and slander are actually quite contradictory. One is of the character of God, while one (slander) is associated directly with the great accuser. Can we truly profess to wisdom and discretion when we participate in discussions which break down others for our own good? Slandering plants the seeds of discontent that can rip apart fellowships, church bodies, and the message of the Gospel. Maybe before we choose to speak we should take a few seconds to answer the question, “Why am I saying this?"
Often we look at the instructions provided in scripture as do / don’t do, rather than considering the merit of following this instruction. Collectively, Job 28 and James 4 will challenge our daily walk and our view of others. I also have no doubt that the more consistently we follow this instruction, we will be all the wiser!
Keep running with horses.
"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.