Tuesday, May 23, 2006

"The Supreme Pursuit"

May 23, 2006
"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." (James 1: 5)

I have no idea what today holds. What conversations I will have, what circumstances I will find myself in. What joys, pleasures or pain will come my way in this next twenty four hour span of time. Because of this it has become very important for me to pray James 1:5 to the Lord each morning. He has already been through my day. He knows it all and He knows the wisdom that I will need to live these hours in any semblance of a godly manner.

My Bible tells me that "wisdom is supreme" (Proverbs 4:7a). That means that it is highest in authority and superior to all else. Nothing can compare with wisdom. Because it is supreme it is well worth all of the effort and cost involved in acquiring it. (Proverbs 4:7b) The benefits of wisdom are spelled out in the book of Proverbs as well. A few of those benefits are victory, success, and protection. It saves from the ways of the wicked. Long life and prosperity are results of wisdom. Prosperity (salom) often translates "peace" which is broader in meaning than material prosperity. It suggests wholeness, health and harmony in every part of our lives. It brings blessing and honor, life and favor. Wow! No wonder Solomon asked for wisdom and not earthly promotion and riches. (See 2 Chronicles, Chapter 1)

So how do we go about getting this wisdom? Let's take a look. We will spend a lot of our time in the book of Proverbs. This book provides both a goal and a route. The goal is successful living and the route is the way of wisdom.

Proverbs 1:7 and 9:10 tells us that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom". In the Hebrew that means that it is "the start". It is the essence. In 9:10 it means that the fear of the Lord is the "prerequisite" to wisdom. Commentators say that this is what makes the Hebrew concept of wisdom so unique. It is not just morality, but living that stems from a right relationship with God. You cannot gain knowledge of spiritual things (assuming we are looking for God's wisdom) if you begin at the wrong point, refusing to fear the Lord. You must revere Him, trust Him, worship Him, obey Him and serve Him. Apart from God a person is ignorant of spiritual things (Rom. 1:22; Eph. 4:18; 1 Peter 1:14). That's step one.

Step two is to ask. Our verse in James says to ask. Jesus says, "Ask and it will be given to you, ..for everyone who asks receives. (Matthew 7:7-8) According to the Word, it is available for the asking. As far as wisdom is concerned however, effort must be expended. We can't just ask and sit passively and wait for it to come by osmosis. Proverbs 2: 1-4 tells us to first of all accept God's word. We must be open to it. Next, we are told to "store it up", retain it and memorize it. We must then, apply it to our lives. Beth Moore, popular Bible teacher tells about her time on a mission trip to Angola. People were given seed to plant for the food they so desperately need. They were so hungry however, that instead of planting the seed, they ate it! They did not sow the seed into the ground, therefore there was no harvest of crops. In Mark, Chapter 4, Jesus says that the seed is the word of God. We must not only receive the word, we must sow it into the ground of our lives. James 1: 22 says "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." We must know the Word and sow the Word! We are told to "call out", "cry aloud", "look" and "search" for wisdom. Search for it like hidden treasure and Proverbs 2: 6 says that "the Lord [will give] gives wisdom and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding."

We are unable to do any of the previous steps without time spent in the Word of God. Our lives cannot be based on the wisdom of the world. But if we never spend time reading and studying the Word we will only know the world's way. The world's ways will lead us astray every time. The god of this world, Satan, is a liar and the father of lies and he rules the world system. Read the word, memorize the word, study the word...LIVE the Word. God's Word IS wisdom.

The primary and most frequent word for wisdom in the Hebrew is "hokmah". It is used to refer to skill. A wise person is knowledgeable, efficient and experienced. Wisdom is being skilled in the art of godly living. It is leading an aggressively dynamic life...a full life. Her results are lasting. Wisdom will reward you. (Prov. 9: 12) Alfred Lord Tennyson stated, "Knowledge comes, but wisdom stays."

Begin your pursuit of wisdom today. Don't delay. The quality of your life depends on it. Fear the Lord. Ask for wisdom and pursue it with all you've got by immersing yourself in God's Word and purposing in your heart to apply what you've learned. Remember, know the Word and sow the Word! Put forth the effort. Wisdom is "more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor." (Both of her hands are extended to you...she is generous) "Her ways are pleasant ways and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed." (Proverbs 3: 14-18) I don't know about you...but that sounds like a great deal to me!

Pursuing wisdom,

Donna Schultz

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