Wisdom Says: Wisdom Feels

“Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind.” (Proverbs 8:30-31)

Not only is Wisdom the key to finding a successful life. Not only does she provide the path to wealth beyond riches. Not only was she created by God and instrumental in creating the universe. She’s also emotional.

hurting_350She is no cold system for getting ahead in the world, a secret shortcut to making good decisions. She’s not like counting cards (for gamblers) or inputting a cheat code (for gamers) to discover the will of God. Solomon wants us to think of her as a she, not an it.

Last week, she told us we must love her to truly know her. She wants to love us, to share with those who keep their eyes on her all her best gifts. Today, she describes her delight in creating with God, her joy in being with Him, and her joy and delight in His brand new world and, especially, in humanity. Wisdom is happy when she serves God and His creation.

Think: Are you ready to make a lasting commitment to walk with wisdom in a relationship that involves your emotions? Are you willing to look for happiness with her in serving God and enjoying His creation?

Pray: Ask God to help you to love wisdom and to experience some of her joy in serving Him.

Do: Read Proverbs 9.

Wisdom Says: Wait for Me

“Now then, my sons, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways. Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not ignore it. Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.” (Proverbs 8:32-34)

For the first time in her passionate speech about how much we need her to find a life that matters, Lady Wisdom reveals herself in the role of mom. But unlike your mom — the one you grew up with and away from — this mom is one we grow more and more dependent on as the years go by. We can’t really live in a meaningful way without the Wisdom of God.

hurting_350So now she urges. She pleads. She prods. She promises. Don’t walk away from her. You’ve listened this long; don’t decide you’re better off with your own street smarts. Don’t decide to reject God’s wisdom. From this point on, any path you walk without her is the path to self-destruction.

Notice that finding wisdom sometimes involves waiting for Wisdom. We’re often better at being enthusiastic that patient. I know people who would wrestle crocs and climb mountains to do the right thing, but they can’t bring themselves to sit still for an hour to wait for Wisdom.

Think: What’s harder for you — sacrificing for wisdom or waiting for it? Why is patience such an important part of living wisely?

Pray: Ask God to help you to be patient to avoid running ahead of wisdom.

Do: Read Proverbs 10.

Wisdom Says: Wisdom Favors

“For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD. But whoever fails to find me harms himself; all who hate me love death.” (Proverbs 8:35-36)

Lady Wisdom concludes her 36-verse plea for our lifelong attention with these words. She won’t hide, but we must seek. And our search brings huge rewards. Those who find wisdom — those who live wisely by living life from God’s perspective — they find favor from God.

hurting_350This favor comes in at least two flavors. On the one hand, living with Wisdom brings practical, natural rewards. People who don’t jump off cliffs are less likely to fall to their deaths. People who don’t tell lies are more likely to earn trust and closeness in relationships. The natural benefits of wise living are endless.

But God’s favor is supernatural as well. To seek out His wisdom — and live by it — is an act of humility. It’s saying, “I don’t know nearly enough on my own; I need God’s help; I need to understand God’s way.” He promises to lift up everyone who humbles him- or herself before Him in this way.

Think: Do you think it’s intolerant for Wisdom to say that hating her is the same as loving death? Is it true?

Pray: Ask God to help grow your appetite for His wisdom.

Do: Read Proverbs 11.

Wisdom Says: Stupid Is

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” (James 3:13)

We’ve spent the last couple of weeks listening to Wisdom’s call to us to find her, to walk with her, to live by her teaching. But how do you know if you’re really doing that? How can you tell if you’re living wisely?

hurting_350James will help us. He quotes Forrest Gump. Okay, that’s not right. Forrest Gump quotes his mom who quotes an old saying that may be based on what James wrote here. Forrest liked to say, “Stupid is as stupid does.” James wrote, “Wise is as wise does.”

Think you know wisdom? Then your life should show it. Specifically, you should be living a “good life” full of humble good deeds. We’ll get more specific in the next few days, but don’t be afraid to take an honest look at your life to see if God’s wisdom is guiding your steps.

Think: Do you think it’s possible to be wise and not make wise choices in your life? Why or why not?

Pray: Ask God to help you move His wisdom from your head out into your lifestyle and choices.

Do: Read Proverbs 12.

Wisdom Says: False Wisdom

“But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” (James 3:14-16)

Here’s what you’ve got to do if you want to get ahead in the world. Look around. Decide what you want out of life. Who do you want to be? What do you want to have? What experiences do you dream of? Put those together, and make your plan to get it all. Work hard. Sacrifice. And live your dreams!

hurting_350Does that paragraph sound familiar? We’ve heard it so often, it just sounds like common sense, doesn’t it? And it is a kind of wisdom. But James called it an earth-bound, spiritually dead, Satanic wisdom. Any wisdom that is focused on me getting what I want most of out life is a false wisdom. It turns my desires into my gods.

The result of that wisdom is “bitter envy.” Or, “I won’t be happy until I have what he has.” And “selfish ambition.” Or, “I won’t be happy until I get everything I want — and I want everything.” That wisdom always leads to a life of chaos drenched in sin.

Think: Are you attracted to this false wisdom of serving yourself to get what you want? Most of us are. What can we do about it?

Pray: Ask God to help you spot this false wisdom in your life and to know how to kill it dead.

Do: Read Proverbs 13

Wisdom Says: The Wisdom Life

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” (James 3:17-18)

After hearing Wisdom’s call to follow her, we’re asking, “How can we know if we’re on the path of wisdom?” James told us two days ago that “Wisdom is as wisdom does.”

hurting_350Yesterday, he showed us the counterfeit wisdom of the world: “Wise people are the ones who get everything they want out of life.” He said that if our lives are full of envy, selfish ambition, chaos, and sin — that’s not wisdom’s path.

Today’s passage describes a life following the wisdom of God: focused in one direction; motivated by peacefulness; thoughtful of others; willing to be challenged and redirected; packed with acts of mercy and other evidence of goodness; convinced that God’s way is best; and not at all fake.

Think: How many of those descriptors of Heaven’s wisdom can you find in your life? As you investigate your heart, do you see more evidence of God’s wisdom or of the world’s brand of false wisdom?

Pray: Tell God you want today’s passage to become a description of your own life. Ask Him to help you find and live with wisdom every day.

Do: Read Proverbs 14.