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Wisdom (Part 2. Wisdom vs. Intelligence - The War Is On!)
This is one of a series of independent study articles. (Part 2 of 2 in series)
How do you define wisdom? When you think of the word wise, what comes to mind?
"Oh, a wiseguy, huh?" at which the standard response is, "Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk."
Has it really come down to this? Has the term "wise" devalued itself into images of "The Three Stooges" slapping each other and asking if one or the other is acting "wise" (which is a euphemism for mouthy, smart-alacky, or impudent)? Has the concept of wisdom really been lost in popular American culture today? Why is the word wisdom seldom (if ever) used? Where is it thought that one must go for wisdom today? Isn't it to the top of a far off mountain to visit some guru of an ancient Asian monastery? or to some pipe-smoking professor huddled behind a desk in a university someplace? (In neither place will you see the God of the Bible taught, coincidence?). Whatever happened to the concept that a person could go to their parents and get wisdom, or better yet, their grandfather or grandmother? When did age become senility at 60 or 65? And who do we blame for this shift in emphasis from wisdom and solid principles of life, to accumulation of undisciplined head knowledge?
We live in a day when young people with no experience turn to other people in the same situation to pool their ignorance and call it "brain-storming." In ages past, that would have been considered foolishness, but today it is seen as having initiative (it saves adults the trouble of assisting the inexperienced). Advice given by a person with experience is seen as old-fashioned and outdated. Why? Because, they reason, everything is transient and changing. Everything is seen as shifting, evolving and nothing to be relied upon for stability. Many think that because technology is in a constantly, ever-changing flux effecting some things about lifestyle, that all things are in a constantly, ever-changing flux. That simply is not true. People have basically always been the same sinners, with the same desires, and drives, and determination to sin. And of course God is the "same yesterday, today, and forever."
"For I am the LORD, I do not change..." (Malachi 3:6)
"God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19)
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variation or shadow of turning." (James 1:17)
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." (Hebrews 13:8)
Have you noticed how the term wisdom is rejected in favor of the terms smart or intelligent which are the more accepted terms. People refrain from using wise or wisdom because that would mean some sense of stability in a body of knowledge. Wise people are usually right (though not infallible) but the world will shy away from wise ones in favor of the clever and the gifted. Cleverness carries a sense that there was a spark of brilliance, a chance happening of right conclusions. One can be clever or show cleverness one moment and absolutely bomb in the next. He got lucky, he took a shot and hit the mark. He was clever. Gifted, carries a sense of evolving, of having been granted by nature some ability, some trait, some adaptation to give an individual an advantage. So gifted is a term that is encouraged; but almost never do you hear of someone having wisdom. That is not a coincidence, wisdom is avoided, even the use of the term, because wisdom is associated with spirituality, with God. That's why people think a monk on mountain has wisdom, because, in their mind, a monk is a spiritual man. And wisdom is always linked with the spiritual.
"Does not wisdom cry out, and understanding lift up her voice? She takes her stand on top of a high hill, beside the way, where the paths meet. She cries out by the gates, at the entry of the city, at the entrance of the doors; 'To you, O men, I call, and my voice is to the sons of men...Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor of the LORD; but he who sins against me wrongs his own soul; all those who hate me love death.'" (Proverbs 8:1-4, 34-36)
Now let's make no mistake, everyone wants to be known as smart. No one, however, seems to care if their spurts of intelligence are just for the short term or are being used for very shallow purposes. It seems the people that are looked upon for "smarts" use whatever thought process works to get a desired result immediately (i.e. here is a problem, this guy may be able fix the problem: so FIX it, period). There is no thought of tomorrow with regard to accumulated wisdom, because each day will pose its own "shoot from the hip" thinking. Each day will be different, they reason, so with each day a new approach is necessary. Ever notice how often college school texts are changed? There actually may be no change at all between one text and an updated version except, perhaps, a sentence or two, but without fail a brand new textbook will be ordered every semester. Why? because they must adhere to the philosophy that all knowledge is shifting, changing. This is symptomatic of how all knowledge is treated as transient and how this belief has taken the forefront in this world. Because in the mind of most, there is no God so there is no constant, nothing is reliable. There is nothing except just the individual themselves trying to survive with the odds stacked against them. There really is no greater good served by having wisdom, no universal truth or wisdom to be learned. The desire of the average heart is to have just enough brains to be able to rule over their own lives and not be hassled by anyone else. (Hassled is defined as mandated behavior from anyone having authority over you, or any rules that you are subjected to or are made to follow that changes your desired lifestyle).
"I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up to themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth." (2 Timothy 4:1-4)
I was watching (or should I say re-watching) a movie that for me changed the course of my life, putting me on a path where my life eventually crossed that of a servant of God. That movie was "Enter The Dragon" starring Bruce Lee. It was this movie that got me into martial arts before I knew Christ. Martial arts put me on a road that lead to Rochester, New York. It was there at a little church in 1978, when I asked Jesus into my heart to save me. I have a heart-debt to this movie about a Kung-Fu teacher because it became part of my testimony of how I got saved.
Well, I was watching it again and the "wise" Shaolin master told Bruce Lee that his knowledge had grown to the point of "transcending into that of the spiritual." How utterly ridiculous that statement is, and yet the world buys into that every day! If you amass enough knowledge, get smart enough with that human brain of yours, you can transcend into the spiritual simply by gathering information and being open-minded.
Many Sci-fi novels and movies also have, as their premise, some machine gathering enough knowledge to achieve self-awareness and life for itself. There is only One Life-giver and that is God. Do you see how the world tries to see knowledge as supreme with even the hope that it will grant life?
Christians are keenly aware that Satan has placed a hidden agenda designed to trap people into thinking the way he does. He subtly changes things bit by bit until what we have bears no resemblance at all to its original form. He has done this with learning and wisdom, converting it slowly into "education" and "knowledge." Originally, God intended our lives to be wound in an intricate pattern around Himself and the worship of the One True God. Our growing in wisdom would naturally stem from our growing to know who God is and how to please Him. One was to be ever learning about loving God and loving one's neighbor. Nearly all of the schools of higher learning, and most of the school houses, were at one time churches or built around the idea of learning about God. The hope was (at that time) when a person graduated from a college or university, that individual would be wiser because they had a "higher" learning experience, the implication is that God was included in this higher formula. Now the enemy has successfully moved the concept of learning to that of "getting an education." Instead of gaining experience and wisdom to make wise decisions, it is termed, "attaining a career" and "getting a job" that pays some real money. Knowledge is the way, money is the means, fulfilling lusts is the goal.
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:28-29)
"...We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies." (1 Corinthians 8:1)
"And they have turned to Me the back, and not the face, though I taught them," (Jeremiah 32:33)
"Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" (Matthew 22:37-38)
Knowing how the enemy works, we can see why the shift of emphasis. We can see why people are looking at going to college with the state of affairs today. Why would you say that such a large percentage of television commercials are about getting a degree, securing a career, going back to school, getting an education? Is it just a coincidence that education is such a political hot-button? Does this help the enemy of God in his agenda? You betcha! As you watch the ads, you are filled with discontent at where you are, in your station in life. You are filled with envy as those examples of graduating students are shown, who now have a "career" instead of "just a job." This envied person is made to count his pennies, to sacrifice, and then finds invariably that he comes up short because of the ridiculous price set on college, but don't let that dissuade you, you can get a loan, you can remortgage your home and your life. Why? because all you have is a job. You do not have a career. So then you go to school, get into huge debt only to find that what you qualify for when you get your "education" is a job! Sometimes you can't even find "just a job" because of so many other people that are thinking just like you that are flooding the market. Then what happens? Well, don't let that dissuade you... Go get a higher degree. Doesn't Doctorate sound better than a Master's anyway? Think of how all the people will respect you then. You will be so proud of yourself! Everyone will look up to you and be proud of you. You'll be able to boast - you did it! People will label you a hero to all the kids and to other adults. Marching up to get that parchment will be a day of glory. (But glory for whom?)
And I guess that is what this is about - pride and glory. Is the student doing this for pride or for glory, to heap accolades to himself or to give praise and glory to God. Do you see the incredible, horrible, insatiable trap set for kids, desperate adults, Christians and non-Christians alike?.
Now do I say this because I do not believe in going back to school? No. Do I say it is wrong to want to be better able to pay your bills? No. I think that that path can be blessed of God, if He leads you there. But I also believe that knowledge puffs up and is a trap. One will fall into that trap without the leading of the Spirit. One or two or even all of the things above are traps that get individuals so enmeshed in a hamster-wheel of thinking that many times even Christians are so distracted and indoctrinated they find their faith in God slipping away. A good percentage of kids graduating from colleges and universities, if they started out thinking God was real, don't anymore.
We are all soldiers and the war is on!
With the knowledge that this battle is raging, we march into the fray. Our weapons are at the ready. The enemy's general is taking no prisoners. The propaganda machine is trying to break our morale. They have sent spies into our ranks to break us from the inside. Disinformation is everywhere but we have good intelligence and we know the truth.
1. We Have A Cause!
David, even though just a boy, when he saw the giant taunting the armies of Israel, became righteously indignant. He told his brothers, "Is there not a cause?" (1 Samuel 17:29) We have an even greater cause. Satan and his hordes would destroy us, individually and collectively, starting with our children. He has sent propaganda flying our way, and our ranks have begun to believe the lies. He has taken our children and taught them the lie that there is no God, just like the Philistine did to Israel. He has set traps for them to fall into and captured many, brainwashing them to serve him instead of the One True God. Many have become simply distracted and are forgetting where the battle is. It isn't in trying to make money. It is a spiritual battle with eternal implications. We have a cause! Each one of these individuals is a precious life before the Lord. We fight evil. We fight lies. We fight for the souls of men who will die and go to hell.
2. We Have A General.
Our General is the Lord Himself who orders us to fight. He has the advantage because He knows all. He is omniscient. He knows the war is won but we will lose many people before the end. Individuals will choose to go AWOL. Many will throw down their shields and get hit with the fiery darts of the wicked one. They will begin to believe that wisdom is not a big deal and try to fight against our army and join the enemy to defeat us. Our General stands at the forefront of the battle and orchestrates our every move. We loyal soldiers, make no move without Him. We are safe as long as we obey orders, but we die when we don't, The enemy is cruel and heartless, but if we remember that the war is already won because God said in the end who wins, it is not so disheartening.
3. We Wear The Armor Of God And Carry The Sword Of The Lord.
As soldiers in God's army we are equipped with armor to protect us and a sword with which to fight. We are given a shield and told that it will protect us from every missile that is launched at us. All we have to do is hold up the shield and move the sword and the Lord will fight our battle for us. He will empower our stroke to make it true, We will be able to discern spiritual matters because the Word is sharp and rightly divides when used properly.
"Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Ephesians 6:13-17)
"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12)
4. We have a battle plan.
We know the battle plan. It is simply stated but hard-fought and fraught with danger should we succumb to the traps that lay wait for us. We have a mandate by the Master to fill up his house. The devil desperately does not want that to happen. We fight the will of the enemy. We fight the thinking of the people who do not know Him. We must convince them before it is too late so that they will not go to hell. We also fight our own flesh who would have us to bend before our sin and worship at the idol of our own will.
"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)
"Then the Master said to the servant, 'Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.'" (Luke 14:23)
5. We know the enemy's methods.
There is an advantage to having Jesus Christ be our General. He has shared with us that He, as omnipotent God, has laid out rules for this battle to be fought. The enemy will not be allowed to go beyond those parameters of war. His traps and temptations will not be new, but what is "common to man." He will not be allowed to use the incredible mind of a powerful spirit being to invent, devise or plan anything new with which to deprive any sinner of a fair chance to survive this battle. There will be "nothing new under the sun" for the soldier to face. We can know that the enemy will work in the areas of the World, the Flesh, and Demonic influence. There will be nothing newly devised to entrap us. He is a merciful God to provide this because if not, the war would surely be much more costly to sinful mankind.
"That which has been is what will be. That which is done is what will be done. And there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, 'See, this is new'? It has been in ancient times before us." (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10)
"No temptation has overtaken you except such is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)
So gird on your armor, pick up your sword and your shield, and get your head into the battle! We have a holy cause to fight for and the Lord on high to empower us to battle. Fight on!
Dear Reader: Are you drawn into the belief that this life is all there is? It isn't. Are you just trying to survive in a world that is trying to destroy you? You don't have to fight alone. God wants to empower you to be a warrior for Him. To do battle in this way, you must be a child of God. Let me ask you, if you died today, do you know for sure that you would go to heaven? Are you sure you are a child of God? God says you can be sure.
"These things have I written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God." (1 John 5:13)
If you are honest with yourself you will know that you are a sinner. The Bible says we are all sinners and we do not measure up to God's perfection. Have you done an inventory of yourself and found you need God? Jesus wants to forgive you of your sin.
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
"Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned." (Romans 5:12)
Living your life your way will not get you to heaven. Only the forgiveness of God through Jesus' blood will wipe away your sin. If you are tired of fighting alone and feeling beaten, pray this prayer with me. Praying prayers and repeating words will not save you but if you sincerely throw yourself into God's arms trusting Him, He will save you.
Pray This: Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner. I am tired of fighting this life alone. I need you to save me. Please forgive me of my sin and save me. I want to turn from living my own life of sin to living for you. I turn to You as the only Way to heaven. Lord thank you for dying for me and raising for me and thank you for saving me. I pray this in Jesus' holy name. Amen.
Others in this series of independent study articles: