Welcome to day 6 of STAND OUT: 7 traits of a counter cultural life. You can find an index of every post in this series here.
Yesterday we began discussing wisdom, which I believe is the foundation of living a counter cultural life. The problem is, sometimes we are seriously lacking in wisdom. We can easily begin to think we are wise and end up in a heap of trouble. Paul wrote about this very thing to the church at Corinth:
Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly to God … 1 Corinthians 3:18-19
For the wisdom of this world is folly to God.
In The Message, Peterson paraphrases these verses this way:
Don’t fool yourself. Don’t think that you can be wise merely by being up-to-date with the times. Be God’s fool—that’s the path to true wisdom. What the world calls stupid, God calls smart …
Let that sink in for a minute.
How often do you think we deceive ourselves, thinking we’re wise when really we’re just following the world? I imagine it happens more often than we realize.
I was thinking about some of what the world calls wisdom. For example,
“Build a good retirement package so your future will be secure.”
“Do everything you can for your kids so they can be successful.”
“If a relationship isn’t bringing you happiness, it’s okay to end it.”
“You have to look out for yourself, after all, no one else will.”
Y’all, no wonder Paul says the world’s wisdom is folly with God. And yet, if we look closely at our lives, it’s not too hard to see how we’ve traded the wisdom from above for the foolishness of this world.
The Greek word for wisdom is sophos. This word signifies the ability to apply skillfully what one knows. I imagine that isn’t a new idea to you. But within the biblical context, sophos denotes a wisdom that is God-centered, not man-centered and a fear of God and understanding of His ways.
As believers, we should be applying skillfully what we know in a manner that is GOD-CENTERED, not self-centered. And our lifestyles and choices should reflect a holy reverence of God and our understanding of His ways.
Think about those examples of the world’s wisdom above. In light of what you know about biblical wisdom, how do these ideas measure up? Yesterday we looked at what James said about God’s wisdom:
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:17
Apply that standard to the four statements I listed above. Do they reflect a purity of heart, focused on God? Do they promote peace with others? Do they allow you to be gentle and tender with those in your life? If you apply those ideas, will you be open to reason? Are those values full of mercy? Will following this path lead to the good fruit of abiding in Christ? With these ideas as your focus, will you be able to live with impartiality and sincerity?
Suddenly, it becomes easy to see how “what the world calls smart, God calls stupid,” doesn’t it?
If we are going to live counter culturally, God’s wisdom must become a primary desire of our hearts. We must be passionate in our pursuit of wisdom and dedicated to faithfully living in a manner that reveals His glory and is subject to His ways.
Again, y’all, this isn’t easy. If we are going to be wise, it’s going to take effort. We’ll have to dig into the Word so we can know His character and understand what He says is good and true. There’s no other way.
Come back tomorrow and as we continue this conversation about wisdom and look at exactly what Scripture tells us.
What is the most difficult area in your life for you to pursue God’s wisdom?
My latest eBook is all about this pursuit of wisdom. Choose Wisdom is a month-long devotional focusing on chapter of Proverbs every day. Click the image below for more information or to order your copy.