Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Folly of Greed

Honor the LORD with your possessions,
And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
So your barns will be filled with plenty,
And your vats will overflow with new wine. 
Proverbs 3:9-10

Western culture had delighted in the telling and the retelling of the story of Ebenezer Scrooge.  He has become the standard archetype for a miserly person.  So deeply did this story grab the popular imagination that it has been presented and represented in nearly every available medium.  The message of a person who holds his possessions as his God is grotesque and sorry in its ultimate end.  However, this personification of greed can be a detriment as well.  We can easily salve our conscience when we think that we are, at least, not so bad off as Mr. Scrooge.  Yet, the thrust of a life of Godly wisdom sees things more clearly yet.  Possessions and wealth are simply a window into the soul and spiritual life of a person.  Again, the proverbs are not promises, but godly observations.  If a person is in a right relationship to wealth and possessions than the Lord is likely to entrust them with more possessions.  This same principle is brought out in 2 Corinthians 9.  It is a matter of the character of God.  He loves His children far to much to let greed destroy us, but He is able (though by no means obligated) to bless those who use their wealth wisely; that is, to His ultimate glory and honor.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Humble Wisdom

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.
Proverbs 3:7-8

A recent popular song presented us with a conundrum.  The subject of the song was said to be beautiful because she did not know that she was beautiful.  One comedian quipped that if she discovered that she was beautiful then she would cease to be beautiful, at which point she would learn that she was not beautiful and in so doing become beautiful again.  He termed this music “Mobius strip pop.”  Humorous as this joke was it points out a real dilemma in humility and wisdom.  It is the very act of believing that we are wise in and of ourselves that brings pride and foolishness into our hearts.  True wisdom finds humility as its only fertile ground.  We cannot be wise in any real way unless we understand that God and God alone is the only one who possesses all knowledge and the Jesus Christ, alone, is Himself The Exclusive Truth.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Wisdom of Faith

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him.
And He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Familiar verses.  These are some of the first verses that were ever shared with me when I first began to walk with Christ in earnest.  So many times I have revisited these verses, each time they become clearer, each time the application grows more vivid.  Think of how all encompassing these words are.  The only wise path available to humanity is a trust that is placed in the Lord - His character, plan and provision.  A complete and whole-hearted trust from the seat of the intellect, will and emotion.  The other side is equally challenging.  We spend most of our lives attempting to lean upon our own understanding.  Making our own judgments and drawing our own conclusions.  But this verse is challenging us to have a greater humility.  We are not to try to solve our problems and plan our ways by our own means and resources, but to submit ourselves fully to what His word has revealed to us and submit all of our choices to what He has revealed in His word and by His Spirit.  The last statement is the most terrifying.  Should we choose this life of faith, He will direct our paths.  This may mean that the path He chooses for us may lead away from what we think we want – but it will bring us to the place of having what we really need: a closer walk with Him.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Wisdom - Saving Lives

My son, do not forget my law,
But let your heart keep my commands;
For length of days and long life
And peace they will add to you.
Proverbs 3:1-2

I could not count the time that wisdom has saved my life.  Wisdom was what let me know when to cross the street safely.  Wisdom is what taught me to use a harness when climbing over a 40 foot drop.  Wisdom is what taught me to tread carefully when my wife tells me that nothing is wrong when something clearly is wrong.  These verses are not a guarantee that every person who learns and applies wisdom will have peace and long life.  It is a guarantee that apart from God’s wisdom there is no hope for peace and long life.  The three above examples are rather obvious, but the principle is firm.  It is the sad reality of my life that almost every problem I have is one that I have made for myself by my own pride and foolishness.  When we take responsibility for our failures and shortcomings in wisdom and change our mind, deciding instead to make wise choices things shockingly move much smoother for us.  This is, of course, only truly possible as we walk in the moment by moment fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ.