Friday, May 15, 2020

Who's Wise?

In starting my review of Romans 12, which we'll be covering during our weeknight Bible study over on Facebook tonight, one part of one verse really struck me. It comes in verse 16. Paul says: "Never be wise in your own sight."

I think it's probably true that the moment we think we're wise, we're not.

Biblical Christian faith does not value self-sufficiency. God calls us into a community of shalom, of peace with God, with others, and with God's creation born of faith in the crucified and risen Jesus Christ.

And if we consult with only ourselves over our decisions and attitudes in life, we create a self-confirming feedback loop in which we assure ourselves that what we want to do or believe is right because it's what we want to do or believe. This is a prescription for being unwise.

That's why listening is so important for Christians.

First and foremost, we're to listen to God. Not our hearts. ("The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" says Jeremiah 17:9) Not our thoughts. (There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death," we read in Proverbs 14:12, ESV). Not our preferences. (When Jesus asked God the Father that the cup of suffering He was to "drink" in His suffering and crucifixion, He also prayed, "...not my will, but yours be done." [Luke 22:42]) We need to listen to God, through His Word.

Second, we need to listen to committed disciples of Jesus Who also listen to God and will pray with us and for us.

Third, we need to listen to the wisdom of others, whatever their backgrounds, who have acquired expertise and experience from which we can benefit. All true wisdom originates with God, even when the person imparting it doesn't themselves believe in God. "For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6)

Above all, we should confidently ask God the Father in Jesus' name for wisdom. James 1:15 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you."

The longer I live, the less confident I am in my own wisdom, in my own capacity to discern truth or make the right decisions. But the longer I live in relationship with Christ, the more I tune into God the Father through Jesus, God the Son, the more confident I am of the decisions and attitudes God commends me to adopt. I more deeply appreciate Jesus' words to His disciples (including me) in John 15:5: "I am the vine; you are the branches...apart from me you can do nothing." I gain a deeper confidence knowing that I have asked for God's wisdom through Christ, assured like the apostle Paul that "I can do all this through [Christ] who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13)

Just a few thoughts.

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