Keep my commandments and live, keep my teachings as the apple of your eye. Proverbs 7:2
Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness and humility born of wisdom. James 3:13
Good question – who is wise and understanding among us? Is it the person with lots of education and training who knows a lot about medicine, or science? Maybe it’s those trivia experts that win many times on Jeopardy. Wisdom could be about knowing lots of facts. Then we note that understanding goes along with this type of being wise. This is a wisdom that leads us into a “good life” where we act with gentleness and humility.
Reading on a few verses, we see a different kind of wisdom, James describes two kinds of wisdom. In verses 3: 14-16 the description is of a wisdom that is earthly and unspiritual. Those who think well, or speak well, are not necessarily wise if they do not live and act well. True wisdom is known by meekness of the spirit and temper. What the world sees as wisdom may not be; what the world sees as foolishness may be true wisdom. In I Corinthians we read: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (I Corinthians 1:18.)
It is tempting to go the world’s way, but as Proverbs reminds us, we are to keep God’s teachings as very precious things. As precious as our eyes. This is certainly not something we do very well, at least much of the time. If you read Pearls Before Swine in the comics section you may have seen today’s. Rat says to goat: “I think the key to mental health is to forgive yourself for the things you’ve done wrong in your life. Then, go out and do more wrong.” Luckily for us it is God that will forgive us as we repent of our sins, even though He knows we will go out and do more wrong. With the help of God and Holy Spirit we can focus on the good things, works we do out of humility born of wisdom.
Lord, we live surrounded by temptations and opportunities to make the wrong choices. Help us to use the wisdom you give us to follow your plan for us. Our desire is to honor you in all we do, but we confess that we often fall short of keeping your commandments; please forgive us. Teach us to walk in faithfulness and integrity and humility according to your word. In Jesus’ name, Amen.