It was getting late on a weeknight, and I had to pick up my children at church after an activity. When I arrived, I found they had volunteered me to take one of their friends home – one who lived a number of miles in the opposite direction. To me, that was totally illogical. Why should I forfeit so much time when she had a parent at home who should pick her up, just as I had picked up my kids. So I politely suggested that she should call her mother to come get her.
But when I saw her strained smile as she walked away from our van, I knew I had made the wrong decision. I felt cheap and unkind.
Life is filled with situations that force us to decide how far we will extend ourselves for others, whether the “others” are family, fellow workers, or starving people half a world away. Often what seems “right” and “logical” is doing what seems best for us.
But the New Testament speaks of two sets of ideas about what is right and wrong – two kinds of “wisdom”. The Bible says the world’s wisdom is based on selfishness.
This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. (James 3:15, NASB)
Unfortunately, as Christians living in this unspiritual world, we often follow that selfish, unspiritual wisdom in dealing with others. We instinctively and jealously protect our comforts, our “rights”.
But another kind of wisdom exists:
Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.
The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:13, 17-18, NASB)
I’m discovering that love has its own wisdom, and the wisdom of God is the wisdom of love. It is peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy. The peace that it brings blesses not only the giver and the receiver, but those around them.
That’s the kind of wisdom I wish I had followed that night at church. I’m sure it whispered its guidance, but I only listened to m own anxieties. If we listen to love, it will brings this beautiful lifestyle:
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NASB)
I want this wisdom to guide and fill my life every day. Fortunately, it is not dependent on our intellectual ability. God’s wisdom doesn’t just impart information. It guides and shapes our thoughts, our emotions, and our reactions. It shapes us, from the inside. This living wisdom flows from His living presence in our hearts. And because it is His wisdom, it makes us think and react more like Him.
His Spirit makes this wisdom constantly accessible for all the ordinary moments and normal demands, as well as for the crisis times. It is part of the living treasure of Christ in us.
But we must look to Him, and ask, and trust.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:5, NASB)