The Fight for Wisdom
For the last couple of weeks, Pastor Dave has been walking us through Proverbs and discussing the pursuit of wisdom. Proverbs itself, with its 915 verses addressing a wide variety of topics, reminds us that wisdom cannot be gained in a hurry. It is a path and a process. So we must have patience to identify the right path, to walk it, and to turn around and start again if we venture in the wrong direction.
While our lives can be filled with ups and downs, it is mostly made of plain-Jane, everyday moments during which we make decisions. And while they may seem insignificant, these moments are what form the direction of our path. Thankfully, Jesus will guide us in all of these decisions – from the most mundane to the extraordinary – if we just listen.
Wisdom’s Resounding Call
Pastor Dave urged us to get to know several aspects of our lives in our pursuit of wisdom – know our God, know ourselves, and know our friends. It is the last point that should have us considering: Who speaks into our lives? Whose counsel do we seek? Are we too much in this world, following garbage influencers and the commands of the kingdom of darkness?
God has actually put wisdom everywhere for our benefit. Unfortunately, many of us do not listen when it is “speaking” all around us. Proverbs 8: “Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?”
There is wisdom within us, in the form of our conscience. Deep down, we know right from wrong, but we’ve become experts at manipulating our definitions, shifting the criteria to fit what we want to be true versus what is true. There is also wisdom in our community, but we often isolate ourselves so that we don’t have to listen to the wise words others might have to impart.
Why Do We Fight It?
With so much wisdom around us, it actually takes effort to avoid hearing it. We fight it, sometimes getting defensive because we don’t want to be called out on our foolishness. So, why do we resist wisdom?
Simply put, we don’t want to be judged. We want to BE the judge.
We don’t want to admit when we are foolish or mistaken, because that is an indication that we do not have everything under control. Our desire for control can keep us stuck in our foolishness.
To break free, we must face who we really are — our true identity. Pastor Dave spoke of 4 types of people:
- Naïve – Someone who is a simpleton, uneducated, and doesn’t know any better.
- Fool – Someone who tries to adjust the truth to fit themselves, instead of facing what isactually true.
- Wise – Someone humble who admits their mistakes, repents, and adjusts.
- Evil – Someone who cannot rest unless they are tearing others down.
The majority of us likely fall in the fool category. But the good news is we can change that if we are willing to admit the error of our ways and seek to do better. Two big steps to growing in wisdom:
- Listen – We must learn to stop speaking long enough to listen.
- Take the truth — We must also be willing to receive and accept the truth, instead ofrefusing or manipulating it.
Our foolishness is never more apparent than when we are angry. Our stubbornness kicks in and we lash out rather than accept correction. The Bible says that “The fool lets his anger be known to all.” We know it’s wrong, but it can be very hard to manage anger.
It’s helpful to remember that anger is really just fear. Often it is the fear that we are failing – that we are being judged and convicted of our failures. Again, we don’t like to be judged because we secretly know we are hopelessly flawed and indebted to God for our repeated sins.
Stand Down and Rejoice
Fortunately, Jesus came to be our advocate. He lived as a man and died on the cross to pay a debt we could never repay. Jesus erased all of the evidence against us so we can stand in court before God with our debt paid in full. Take a minute to let that sink in.
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” Revelation 5:12
Rejoice! We don’t have to fight the truth or deny our flaws and shortcomings anymore. We can stop trying to prove how great we are because Jesus was judged in our stead, so we can receive grace.
It is time to stop fighting the wisdom that is in and around us. We must open our hearts and minds and check our egos at the door. To that end, it is important to surround ourselves with the faithful. The company we keep can either hinder our progress or it can foster faith within ourselves and help us on our journey toward wisdom.
Transformation comes from community. It does not happen in a vacuum. As believers, we are called to community repeatedly in the scripture. During the isolation of the pandemic and the information overload of our society, community is even more important.
We’d like to encourage you to consider becoming a part of a Hillside Community Group. These groups offer a chance to deepen our connections with God through our relationships with others in his word. Learn more about our community groups here.
Margaret C.L. Harrison
Hillside Communications Serve Team