Proverbs 1:20–33, Proverbs 9:10, Matthew 7:7–12, James 1:5–8 (read online ⧉)
Choose a side is the overwhelming discourse in politics and social issues these days. Without question, social media and the internet, in general, have made the ability to blare one’s opinion throughout the world. Regardless of one’s politics, newspapers (or news companies) seem to feel a need to make their opinion known on which candidate is the “best” choice. For example, the New York Times is currently working on its review of and interviews with all the current candidates from the Democrat Party, so that they can editorially endorse a particular candidate. For some reason, the New York Times (and other “news” organizations, regardless of apparent ideology) feels the need to declare its allegiance to a particular candidate speaks to a loss of neutrality.
This all speaks to a long-standing culture that “leaders” or leading organizations must declare a right and wrong side. The Church universal (i.e., not just Generations Community Church) is struggling with this very thing. So, too, are many people within the church. We have become so polarized that everyone expects to have people declare their stance. This is understandable. This falls well within the right/wrong rules that we all need to have. It also fits our general behavior of who is “in” and who is “out”.
F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” Regardless of “intelligence” (which is subjective in many respects), this is an uncomfortable statement. By holding contradictory ideas, it makes it harder to be put into a box, which makes it harder for people to relate to us, doesn’t it? It didn’t use to be this way (or at least to this level); now we have to put ourselves in a box to make it easier for others to deal with us.
People have been “wise” for years. True wisdom comes from God, yet (sadly) most people are more satisfied by human wisdom, and therein lies the problem.
It is not that worldly wisdom is automatically bad. It is automatically deficient, as it is human not God. The passage in Matthew and James talk about Godly wisdom insofar as asking for it. Jesus’ focus (in this passage) is more on the wisdom to see and enter the Kingdom of God. James is more concerned with maintaining the walk with Jesus (arguably the same thing as Jesus’ concerns). The “problem” with Godly wisdom is that it isn’t worldly wisdom. Wordly wisdom (currently) wants us to be in worldly wisdom boxes. Godly wisdom doesn’t fit in worldly wisdom boxes.
As we interact with the world, we will often be confronted with the obvious contrasts between worldly wisdom and Godly wisdom. However, there will be times where worldly wisdom appears to be in line with Godly wisdom. This is actually when it is the most dangerous for us as followers of Christ. When worldly wisdom appears to be in line with Godly wisdom, it becomes easier to nudge us to continue to follow worldly wisdom and away from Godly wisdom. First, it seems okay, but after a while, we can find ourselves far enough from Godly wisdom that we have to reset. When we reset ourselves, we become discouraged. That is why we must continually ask God for God’s wisdom. We won’t, unlike Solomon, get it all at once. It is the faithful pursuit of it that will change and form us into the people of Godly wisdom.
1) What is wisdom? Do the verses from Proverbs help or hinder your understanding of wisdom?
2) Why is wisdom important? How does, or does it, affect intelligence and knowledge?
3) How does James’ “double-minded” apply to intelligence and wisdom?