Word for the Week
Short reflections on Bible passages, with a frontline focus...
Think of the number of decisions facing you today. Some are of great importance, others seemingly minor. Each one has consequences. How are we to make these decisions? We need wisdom!
Wisdom is offered to us from many sources: business gurus, magazine articles, internet searches, friends, and colleagues. Which of us would not welcome a ‘Wisdom Self-help Manual’ or a ‘Wisdom App’ for our phone? We could key in the current dilemma – be it ‘time pressures’, ‘lack of resources’ or ‘difficult colleagues’ – and download the relevant instructions. Although we have no lack of information or opinions, quantity of knowledge does not equate to wisdom.
The Book of Proverbs spells out that there are two alternatives – the way of wisdom and the way of folly. Both cry out to us in public places – our offices, factories, schools, or shopping centres. Both seek our attention. Both make the attractive offer of life. Yet there is no middle path between wisdom and folly, no grey area – whereas wisdom does lead to life, the path of folly leads to death. So how are we to distinguish between them? Humility and wisdom go hand-in-hand. Humility comes from the realisation that all of life is about trust in God.
John Calvin begins his Institutes of the Christian Religion by stating: ‘Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.’ Humility is grounded in an honest recognition of our own weakness and need. Calvin said, ‘The most effective poison to lead us to ruin is to boast in ourselves, in our own wisdom and willpower’.
So today, take the time to ask God for his wisdom in each of the decisions facing you, knowing that he gives generously to those who humbly ask (James 1:5). His answer may come in a variety of ways – sudden inspiration, an unexpected thought, the comment of a colleague, or new clarity – but it will come. God wants his followers to walk wisely with him and offer that wisdom to a needy world.
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