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biblical truth

Clothe Yourself With Wisdom: Christine

Posted in faith

Wisdom: A word that can be hard to define, especially in the culture that we currently live in.

Lately, I have been considering what it means to be “wise in the sight of God,” or how to differentiate between godly wisdom and worldly wisdom. Recently I was promoted to a leadership role at my job, and I have found myself seeking God about what it means to be a godly servant leader. One thing God is showing me is that servant leadership requires seeking Him for wisdom in humility. In light of this, my question is “what does godly wisdom look like?”

First, Read the whole third chapter of the book of James for context. Let’s focus on the last few verses, specifically James 3:13-18:

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

God was providing a prescription for what it looks like to have godly wisdom vs worldly wisdom! Try rereading James 3:17, but insert the opposite of each word to build a stark contrast in meaning:

Godly wisdomWordly wisdom
PureSelfish ambition, jealous, impure
PeaceableChaotic, anxious
GentleMean, merciless
Open to reasonClosed to reason, selfish, does insist on its own way
Full of mercyFull of legalism, full of wrath
Good fruitsRotten fruits
SincereFalse, dishonest, boasting

Based off this contrast, it is easier to differentiate between godly wisdom and worldly wisdom. Wisdom from above is peaceful (James 3:17) while worldly wisdom is chaotic and disorderly (James 3:18). Also, to answer the question, “what does godly wisdom look like?” let’s look to Proverbs 9:10: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”  The Hebrew of this word “fear” is yir’ah which means (of God) to respect, revere and be pious towards. Fearing the Lord means having a reverent, fearful awe of the almighty God.

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stewarding your heart

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The Bible tells us to watch over our heart “with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23). Other versions say to guard it with all vigilance. Others say to watch over it because everything you do flows from it.

The Bible also tells us to do a few things with our whole heart: trust in the Lord and love Him.

I’m a girl who lives full throttle led by her heart. I enjoy creative thinking, deep conversations, and using my imagination. I like to be active and push my body in a way that energizes me. But God has uniquely wired me to flourish in matters of the heart — care and mercy for another, relating quickly to friends or strangers wherever they find themselves, and feeling emotions deeply.

When I was in high school, I had a coach tell me I was like a chameleon. That I could fit in any group, be everyone’s friend and listening ear, including the counsel, “Make sure you’re pray-ed up.” At the time I only partly understood his challenge.

Over the years, with the help of the Holy Spirit and God’s grace, I’ve learned what stewarding my heart looks like for me. Maybe these practices can be helpful for you.

AGREE with Scripture

Or better yet, beware of when you’re disagreeing with it. Sounds simple, but oh so powerful. Learn what God thinks, about situations, you, the world, and agree with Him. An extension of this would be to take thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:1-6). When you find yourself camped out in a thought, submit it to what you know about God, hold it up to the light of the Bible and see how it compares. Another extension is to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any lies you are believing about God, yourself, or another person, and repent of them. It’s a muscle we must use frequently to strengthen — uproot the lie and align your feelings with your faith, replanting seeds of Truth. His Word will never fail to be the response or answer you need. Pour it in, meditate on it, set up camp in the midst of it.

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from ‘religiously right’ to Jesus, only Jesus

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I sat in the pew, taking notes, attentive to the pastor in front of me reading the story of a Canaanite woman’s encounter with Jesus (Matthew 15:21-28). 

I confess the story is one I mostly glaze over, because it seems weird and uncharacteristic of Jesus. This day, God had primed my heart and mind to hear something new. 

Prior to this moment in Scripture, Jesus had held conversations with people driven by religious achievement. He then encounters a woman in great need asking for mercy purely out of belief that He is the only one who can change her circumstance. But He responded so uniquely, throwing up obstacle after obstacle. He spoke hard words, and she persisted. She was determined that even a crumb from His hand would be enough to change her life. And He was delighted by her faith!

I imagine she had exhausted all other options, abandoning idols of her friends and family, desperate for any semblance of breakthrough. Nothing was working. Nothing was changing.

I can relate. I can relate to the madness of seeking deep peace and durable joy by ways not God. I can relate to the feeling of getting so close to freedom you can smell it, but never experience it work its way into your system. By grace, His Spirit is renewing us. I saw the reality of the gospel in full color that day: a life of faith, by way of God’s Spirit, is fixed on God and His perfect, crucified, resurrected, reigning Son – not self.

Like this woman encountered obstacles in her pursuit of Jesus, an obstacle to wholehearted surrender to Jesus I fight every day is self-reliance

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