Saturday, November 12, 2011

November 12, 2011 … Identifying False Wisdom

Passage of the Day: James 3: 15 [highlight verse in bold/underlined] … 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

My Journal for Today: Make no mistake about “wisdom” [i.e., our understanding of life]. It takes on two distinct forms; and in James 3: 13 – 15, today’s passage repeated in the last few days, God, through James, shows us the two quite clearly.

First, there is Godly wisdom, primarily provided by God’s grace for man’s well being. And then there is worldly wisdom, which is so-often falsely pursued and created by man and channeled from Satan or the world for man’s selfish desire as he tries to understand those elements of life which impact him. We have seen in these past days that when a believer mines God’s truth with an attitude of humility and expectation (again, see Job 28), primarily from God’s word or insights from His Spirit, God will provide His will and His way to man in abundance (see James 1: 5 – 6). However, when man, from an attitude of selfishness or ambition, seeks understanding from life on his own, such “wisdom” may come from his own heart (and we see what we can get into going that route (Jeremiah 17: 9). Our search for understand also may come from Satan or the world (see today’s verse), who are certainly ready to deceive us and draw us away from God, resulting in all kinds of disorder and evil (read ahead to James 3: 16).

That’s what happened when Solomon was given discernment to pursue wisdom from God (see 1st Kings 3: 5 – 13 - linked here). God was pleased with Solomon when he had a chance to gain anything from God; and the new king chose wisdom. So, God provided Solomon with a discerning heart, provisionally allowing the king to be the wisest man who ever lived. But we know from “the rest of the story” that Solomon blew it by pursuing selfish pleasures and power later in life rather than God’s presence and plan; and the book of Ecclesiastes chronicles what Solomon learned about those pursuits. We also read [see Eccles. 12: 13] that the Hebrew King finally came to God’s conclusion, giving all believers the insights from his experience: “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” And much of the book of Proverbs [especially Chapters 1 – 9] was, I believe, Solomon’s attempt to get that message across to his son (and from God to all of us). Think of the oft-quoted exhortation of Prov. 3: 5 -6 where Solomon desperately wanted his son [and readers like you or me] to trust in God for direction and his warning not to lean on our own, human, understanding.

And the Apostle Paul in the New Testament warned Christians to beware of the agents of Satan in the world – even within the church – disguising themselves as ministers of light and righteousness (2nd Cor. 11: 14 – 15). Paul says that we’ll get what we deserve if we cannot discern man’s version of “truth” from God’s perfect word; and that will be what our selfish desires get from what Satan provides. The history of mankind and God’s chronicles of His chosen people (see all of the book of Judges), are evidence of what man will get when he chooses to pursue human understanding rather than Godly wisdom.

How are we doing? How are YOU doing?

My Prayer Today: Help me see Your true wisdom, Lord, as I live in this world. Amen

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