Wednesday, December 24, 2008

James 1:5-8 "The Pursuit of Wisdom"

Read James 1:5-8.

"If any of you lacks wisdom...." NIV
Who on earth doesn't lack wisdom? We all can read and go to school to learn facts and ideas. But knowledge is not wisdom. I found this poem in Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary:

Knowledge and wisdom, far from being one, Have ofttimes no connection. Knowledge dwells In heads replete with thoughts of other men; Wisdom, in minds attentive to their own. Knowledge, a rude, unprofitable mass, The mere materials with which wisdom builds, Till smoothed, and squared, and fitted to its place, Does but encumber whom it seems to enrich. Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much; Wisdom is humble that he knows no more. --Cowper.

The Random House Unabridged Dictionary defines wisdom as "the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight."

King Solomon defines wisdom as understanding the fear of the Lord and finding His knowledge. That you will have understanding and discretion and a discerning heart. (See Proverbs 1:1-11 and I Kings 3:9) After Job's trials, he defines wisdom as "fear of the Lord" and understanding as "to shun evil." (Job 28:28).

I've met many people who have multiple academic degrees listed behind their name, but have no wisdom. They rely on facts inputted and their own interpretations - avenues of their own thinking -- to guide them. And often they come up with some of the most ridiculous conclusions. They have put their faith and value in knowledge and their "wisdom" is couched in a selfish determination of truth.

God says that if we need wisdom, we don't rely on knowledge that we've attained, but ask Him for the answers. If we ask without doubting, our Father provides all we need.

So am I saying education is useless? Absolutely not. I come from a family of academics and highly value education. But while gaining knowledge, we must increasingly humble ourselves before the Lord or else our pride will direct us to rely on our own knowledge and not on the wisdom of God. But if we lay everything at His feet -- including our degrees and diplomas, facts stored and experiences lived -- then the enemy cannot turn our knowledge against us, and God can use it for His honor and glory.

Further Thoughts:
  1. Study Proverbs and I Kings 3 for more insight on wisdom.
  2. How does James 1:1-4 and 1:5-8 relate to the life of Job?
  3. Do your own word study by comparing and contrasting "wisdom" and "knowledge." Which one do you rely on most? Why?

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