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Make the Choice of Wisdom in 2014
There are many lessons to be learned about using our talents wisely during the course of life and often we do not take the time to learn the valuable lessons that can be obtained from the things we experience. Lessons can be learned from the experiences of our life and the lives of others. We can learn from experiences of both success and failure. And from the lessons, we can extract principles that are worth retaining for wisdom. The year of 2013 taught a lot of lessons concerning money, loyalties and the use of talents. Many of us experienced our own personal difficulties with all the economic and political fluctuations during the year. But we often found ourselves spellbound as we watched the news about some of the fallout from wrong decisions made by businesses, churches, political parties, public figures, individuals and Christians too. We saw examples of how a person's moral values can sometimes conflict with their livelihood. We saw in the public arena politicians, religious leaders, and Hollywood stumble and some fall over their personal choices.
Guidance For Wisdom
It is in the pages of the bible that we should look for strength to make judgments and right decisions on issues of morality, life, relationships and how to use our talents in a wise, profitable and sustaining way. King Solomon received the gift of wisdom from God and he counsels us: “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding” (Pro 4:7). Wisdom is needed in all areas of life. The guidance of the bible has been used for generations by people from the highest office to the lowest, by people of wealth and those seeking it, and by those seeking power from the knowledge of the past and future. “For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding “(Pro 2:6). The bible has proven itself to be expert guidance that has stood the test of time.
The year of 2013 put so much pressure on some people and systems that it forced some to declare who they really were at the core. That’s not all bad because some of us had to come out of hiding and take a stand for God. Some things came out of hiding that overwhelmed us. And some people showed loyalties that surprised us. We also saw some ugly things appear in unexpected places. Some people broke under the pressure. And some persons just declared their true nature and are still standing. But now we know them by their fruit. Jesus' earthly ministry provided lessons to live by and on-going revelations about human nature. Here is one such lesson: "Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit” (Mat 12:33).
“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Mat 7:16-21
Jesus gave this wisdom about trees and fruit to teach us judgments about the nature of people that helps us also to understand people in the social and business environment. When we observe the behavior of people we see their fruit and it reveals their nature or the type of person they are. Most people will try to show us their good side but some relationships demand that we know up front what we are dealing with. Once we see the fruit, we know what kind of the tree it is by the fruit that it produced, whether good or evil. Apple trees should always produce the fruit of apples; but if a pear appears then something is wrong with that tree, causing it to give forth strange fruit. Everyone has their good and bad days and can appear cranky or maladjusted for a period; but continuous bad behavior reveals bad fruit from an problem tree. So a tree of love does not produce hate fruit. Trees like people can pretty much all look alike until it is time to bear fruit and then it will reveal what kind it is. People can change their habits or personality but the fruit that is continually displayed reveals what’s at their core. Jesus talked about this in Mt 15:18-19 relating to how the mouth reveals what is in the heart. As the Creator of all the trees and Master over all things, Jesus taught us wisdom about discerning trees by its fruit to gain guidance for making right decisions, discerning wrong paths and knowing people.
Choice of Roads
Jesus gave wisdom for choosing between the many choices of life:
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Mat 7:13-15).
Jesus instructs that narrow is the way that leads to a good life and eternal life but not many people choose to go that way. The world teaches us that if everyone else is going a certain way or doing a certain thing then we should join in with the crowd. But the crowd is not always right. Choosing wisdom means following godly counsel and taking the right path for life ignoring the crowd. It may look like the wrong path at first but time will prove it to be more beneficial in the long run. And God has promised to destroy the wisdom of the worldly wise (1Co 1:19). God’s wisdom will work for sinners and Christians in choosing the right road. And continuing to choose this road is the way that leads to life, instead of destruction. It was the crowd that cried “Crucify Him” to Pilate to kill the Messiah, while wisdom counseled him not to kill an innocent man. The crowd killed Stephen while he called upon the Lord. Saul, a Pharisee, did what he believed was his religious duty; but later as a Christian, Apostle Paul, regretted and denounced it. Enoch, Noah and Elijah chose to follow God instead of the crowd and they prevailed when others failed. Reading Scriptures will give principles for choosing the right path.
Consider the Paths
Biblical principles teach us to “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God (1Jn 4:1)” and to “Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established” (Pro 4:26). Even in a society like ours today where everything is reported, some people are still able to disguise their true motive. We make decisions all day and every day; so we need wisdom to choose wisely. The bible counsels:
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise. Pro 12:15
For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety. Pro 24:6
There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand Pro 19:21
Some things may be right for others but wrong for you. Each person has to determine what his best decision is. It helps when you know your destiny, purpose or goal because then you can see more clearly whether a choice will take you off course. James taught: “For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that” (Jas 4:15). It is always a good idea to pray and seek God for guidance. God tells us to acknowledge Him in all our ways and He will direct our path.
Counterfeits and Stewards
Jesus warned about wolves in sheep’s clothing who come to deceive and who cannot always be recognized by the outward appearance. Deceivers have caused many to lose their hard earned money by following something that seemed right. And people are more apt to follow those that are well known or in places of authority. It is not easy to know these days who is right and who is wrong. It certainly appears easier to follow someone that you believe will do what’s right. But that judgment might be deceiving. Our resources can be lost because of misinformation or misrepresentation. By taking the time to consider the choices, it provides time to examine fruit and see what type it is. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good (1Th 5:21). God’s wisdom gives us the tools to choose because often our life, livelihood or soul may be at stake. We see in John 7:17 that the state of our heart impacts our decision: “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” A heart sincerely seeking truth will find it. God leads and guides His children; but for the sake of developing maturity, He counsels us to study, try, prove, examine, not to be ignorant and to pray. Then based on all the evidence, we make the best decision.
The teaching of the bible is intended to help us be wise stewards over our time, talent, money and loyalties. Jesus asked “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season (Mat 24:45)?” We see in Chapter 25 of Matthew that God takes resources from the wicked servant and gives them to the wise so that the wise has much more. This lesson teaches that the unwise will lose even that which he had and be the poorer still because of not using wisdom. Using wisdom helps us to enjoy the good life by taking the right path. The righteous path may take a little longer to obtain but it will last longer and be much more fulfilling.
Fresh Start in 2014
We should not forget the valuable lessons learned in 2013 and certainly not repeat wrong ones in 2014. We become wiser through life’s experiences when we learn from the lessons. Some people we followed in 2013, we should not follow in 2014 because we discerned the fruit.Consider where you sow the seeds of your time, talent,money and loyalties.Make better investments.If it is not producing a good crop, you should seriously consider whether or not it is worth the investment of your time.Don’t waste valuable time and resources on something that is not profitable.We will all be judged for our use of the master’s resources.Sow good seeds in good ground and expect a harvest.If it does not produce, you may need to do some pruning but after a period of time you must evaluate its worth.God does the same thing with us. He judges whether or not we are profitable servants.And we are expected to imitate God. At the end of the year many of us make new commitments for the upcoming year.We evaluate the past year’s successes and loses.If we learned lessons in 2013, then we should be ready to make some changes to do better in 2014.Invest better in 2014. Remember God and put Him first.Use God’s wisdom to make right choices.Let’s turn over a new leaf in 2014.Let’s leave behind the mistakes of 2013.
- If you were following someone that led you down the wrong path in 2013, don’t do it in 2014.
- If you did not show any growth in 2013, do something different… something better in 2014.
- If you were idol worshipping in 2013, acknowledge God and realize your own potential in 2014.
- If you were negative and condemning in 2014, be confident and assuring in 2014.
- If you did not give of yourself to others in a loving, sharing way, please do so in 2014.
- If you did not add to the promotion of humanity in 2013, plan to be a nobler you in 2014.
- If you did not stand by someone in trouble in 2013, plan to under gird someone in 2014.
- If you chose to believe someone that you knew was lying in 2013, stand up for truth in 2014.
- If you supported a political party, church or social group that did not portray your moral values in 2013, don’t support them in 2014 or help them go in the correct way.
- If you abandoned your child or family that relied on you in 2013, go back and get it right in 2014.
- Plan to make your marriage better in 2014.
- Plan to be more dependable in 2014.
- Plan to love more in 2014.
- Plan to be more like the person you want to be in 2014.
- Don’t cry anymore over things that were wrong in the first place.
- Go after that thing (job, romantic pursuit, adventure, and hobby) that made your heart skip a beat in 2013.
- Seek God and make a fresh start in the right direction for the New Year and make it a Happy New Year!
Copyrighted 2013 by Joyce Reba Payne. All rights reserved.