How God Followers Can Walk with Wisdom and Not Flounder with Foolishness
January 18, 2021
One Year Wisdom Challenge #3
Why do search engines like Google, Bing, Duck Duck Go, and others make gazillions of dollars a year in advertising revenues? Why do people spend hours perusing websites like Pinterest and Instagram? Because they are storehouses of information, and expertise. Storehouses that you can walk into 24/7 via phone or computer. We of the 21st century, are given access to understanding and knowledge that could not even be imagined by the greatest geniuses of past centuries.
Anything from the history of the Babylonian empire to the finer points of beekeeping can be found with a few seconds of searching on the internet. With all the knowledge and experience available to us, we should be living in perfect, peaceful healthy societies by now, wouldn’t you think?
We know how to grow, harvest, and store food.
We know how to eat and exercise to stay healthy.
We know how to navigate the complexities of human relationships.
We know how to succeed in business.
We know how to build or repair anything.
We know what causes wars. And what ends them.
So, what’s the problem? Why are we in such a state of turmoil around the earth?
I think it’s because we are generally some of the smartest fools that have ever existed. We’ve cornered knowledge and ignored wisdom.
The great preacher, Charles Spurgeon, said this about knowledge and wisdom:
“Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.”
Now, THAT’S wisdom.
This week I thought it might help us all if I made a chart where we can see in black and white some of the stark differences between the way fools approach life and the way of the wise. Questions arose about my behavior and attitudes as this chart emerged. They challenged me. I share them with you so perhaps you can also recognize the ways of a fool in your life, as I did.
Remember again, Proverbs are not promises, but they are prescriptions. They are vitamins and medicines for the soul which God left for his children in a fallen world, so that we can experience abundant lives. Not lives free of sorrow and troubles but lives that exemplify what Jesus meant when he told us he overcame the world for us. (John 16:33) This is why God pleads with us to hunt for wisdom. His ways are the world-overcomer ways.
Live securely, don’t fear the future 1:33
Are plagued by terror, distress, and anguish 1:27
Understand the reverential fear of God 2:5
Are destroyed by their own complacency and simple-mindedness then blame God for their troubles 1:32 19:30
Understand righteousness, justice, and equity 2:8
Choose perverted speech and behavior and the way of darkness 2:12-14
Are guarded by discretion and delivered from evil 2:11-12
Take no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing their opinion 18:2
Given keys to long life, riches, and honor 3:16, 3:35, 8:18, 9:11
Are disgraced and ruined by their choices 3:35, 9:13-18
Are called blessed by others 3:18
Bring shame to those who love them 17:21,
Are protected, sure-footed and enjoy peaceful sleep 2:23-24, 28 4:12
Walk into trouble and destruction 21:16, 22:3
Find life and obtain favor from the Lord 8:35, 13:15
Mock sacred things and damage themselves most of all. 14:9, 8:36
Are a fountain of life for others 13:14
Leave a wake of destruction and disappointment behind them. 26:3-12
I encourage you to reflect on the following questions and answer them truthfully. This exercise will help us to identify the areas where we are most tempted to play the fool.
Do I worry about the future because of foolish decisions I made in the past, about finances, work, or relationships?
Do I worry about the future because I don’t understand what God is doing right now and I’m struggling to trust him?
Do I prioritize time with God more casually than other people or commitments?
Do I take the time ever, to reflect on who I am praying to and who I am disobeying when I sin? Have I presumed upon God’s grace?
Does my speech and behavior always reflect an understanding of righteousness, right living and thinking?
Have I grown calloused to injustice and inequities around me because it has become so prevalent in the culture? Do I take risks to speak out for justice and fairness?
Am I a discrete person or do I speak without thinking? Can I be trusted with confidential information?
Am I living in such a way where people, especially unbelievers, recognize I am blessed and one of God’s favorites? (Every believer is, by the by.)
Am I living peacefully and safely or am I often surrounded by drama and conflict of my own making? When unavoidable conflicts and challenges of this world do cross my path, do I remain peaceful and confident in God’s provision and protection or do I make things worse?
Is my life a refreshment for others or do I wear people out?
Brothers and sisters, we live in perilous times. We need to wise up. Here’s our memory and meditation verse this week.
“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm,” Proverbs 13:20 ESV.