Wise guys

This is part nine of a multi-entry blog series titled “Lessons I Learned in the Desert.”

James 1:5 almost sums it up entirely: “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.” We live in a world where information is more available than it has ever been. They call our age the “Information Age.” Just look at what smart phones have done to us. Now, if I want to know the Hawaiian word for “money” I can grab my iPhone, open the Google app, speak the words into my phone, and it will give me the answer. (As an experiment I actually tried this and it worked. The Hawaiian word for money is “kala.”)

This availability of information and facts have lead us to believe that we are wise. Proverbs 3:7 warns us against this mentality. Instead, we are to ask God to bless us with wisdom. Wisdom is not the same thing as information. Being informed is simply knowing something; wisdom is knowing how to live. Proverbs 1:3 says that wisdom is “doing what is right and just and fair.” I love the way Richard J. Foster puts it in Celebration of Discipline:

 “All of us know persons who have taken some course of study or attained some academic degree who parade their information in an offensive manner. We should feel profound sorrow for such people… They have mistaken the accumulation of information for knowledge. They equate the spouting of words with wisdom. How tragic!”

James 1:5 teaches us that God is the giver and source of wisdom. We must ask Him for it and only from Him can we receive it. Proverbs 4:6-7 say that we should get wisdom above all else. Wisdom is supreme. I think it’s safe to say that attaining wisdom should be on every Christian’s to-do list! Without wisdom, we will all live very hard lives individually. And without wisdom, as a society, we will collapse.

We live in a culture that is growing less and less wise. We must learn to think critically about the messages that culture throws at us and the methods through which we receive theses messages. For example, I recently heard Four Minutes by Madonna. It had a catchy beat so it kept me listening and I heard the line, “If you feel it, it must be real.” Those simple 8 words, while they sound harmless, are toxic. Thing about the repercussions of that mentality. It means that our feelings are the way we should define reality. Do what you want, as long as it feels good. Is this a way to live life? This is just one example, but listen to the radio, go to the movies, watch TV and you will be inundated with all sorts of bizarre and unwise messages about sex, money, drugs, violence, etc. Our culture is saturated with unwise thinking.

Christians, I urge you to be wise about what you let dictate the way you think about the world. If you’re not sure where to go, here’s a hint: read your Bible! I also urge you to “get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” (Proverbs 4:7) First, ask God for wisdom. James 1:5 promises that God will give us wisdom if we sincerely ask. Another great way to deepen your wisdom is to read Proverbs. The book has 31 chapters, so read one chapter a day. You’ll be amazed at the practical wisdom contained within Proverbs!