Why We Need Wisdom

I mean, really need wisdom...

I've always been interested in wisdom. Notice I didn't say I've always been wise! Maybe it is because I haven't been wise enough that I've been interested in getting more of it.

I have always enjoyed good quotes. So many of them are "words of wisdom." I have books that are collections of quotes. I have Instagram feeds that provide a quote of the day. Like this one:

Look for something positive in every day; even if some days you must look harder than other days.

Because I can easily fall into negative thinking, that's a good word for me.

I really like presidential quotes, especially from our founding presidents (Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison, Monroe, and J. Q. Adams). Here is a great word from George Washington about the American Revolution.

At this auspicious period, the United States came into existence as a Nation, and if their Citizens should not be completely free and happy, the fault will be entirely their own.  George Washington

Washington knew a war of independence could win our freedom, but that was just the start. Now we had to learn how to be a people who could together pursue a common and greater good, namely, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all. We still have a lot to learn on how to have EVERYONE completely free and pursuing a life of flourishing.

Wisdom matters.

That's why we are spending the entire summer on the pursuit of wisdom. The whole summer. Right now we are in the midst of engaging with the spiritual wisdom of the Psalms.

You might think a summer of focus on wisdom is overkill.

The Bible thinks it is necessary!

The Old Testament has four books clearly identified as Wisdom Literature, and one more that has lots of wisdom statements in it.:

  1. Job - wisdom about suffering.
  2. Proverbs - wisdom about practical living.
  3. Ecclesiastes - wisdom about the Big Questions of life.
  4. Song of Songs - wisdom about romantic love.
  5. Psalms (while it is bigger and broader than wisdom) - wisdom about the spiritual life.

The New Testament does not have any book totally devoted to wisdom, but wisdom is found all throughout the New Testament. The Sermon on the Mount is a collection of wisdom statements from Jesus. Every letter by Paul has wisdom statements. The Book of James is the closest we have to  a book of wisdom in the new Testament.

And the Bible is full of stories of people who made really bad decisions out of really wrong thinking!

6 Reasons Why You Need Wisdom

There are many more reasons I could provide, but these are a good start.

1.  The opposite of wisdom is confusion, error, foolishness, and ignorance. Who wants to have any of those words to describe how we live?

2.  The Bible has strong statements on wrong teaching. It calls it false teaching. The Old Testament prophets referred to false or lying prophets. Error is always a bad thing, but when error is about essential Christian beliefs, it is deadly.

3.  Today knowledge about God, Jesus, the Bible, basic Christian beliefs, and Christian ethics is in short supply. With all the resources we have available, we just do not take the time to read, study, think, reflect, and discern truth. We are easily susceptible to wrong teaching that a generation ago would have been quickly identified as wrong teaching.

4.  Along with truth being in short supply, many followers of Jesus have a hybrid Christian mindset,. or what is sometimes called syncretism. This is when a truth of the Bible is so intertwined with a cultural belief that the cultural belief changes the biblical truth. The classic example today is the "prosperity" teaching. It is the American dream of health and wealth that is given a biblical paint job and labeled as God's will for you. You should never suffer, never be sick, never struggle financially. If you do, you are lacking faith. That's so far from the Bible, it is embarrassing.

5.   Wrong ideas inevitably lead to bad choices, and those choices lead to behaviors. When behaviors are sustained, they turn into habits and a lifestyle. If there is a "lie" that is now so dominant and pervasive, and so powerful in its effects, it is this:

You are the Center of Life. Everything revolves around you. You decide what is good and true for you. No one else can tell you you are wrong. Do whatever it takes to get things the way you want. Follow your gut.  Add to this lie, another one, that life is about money and possessions and you should devote yourself to accumulating as much as you can, and you have the recipe for making terrible choices. Like going into incredible debt that makes life a burden.

When we learn the error of our ways, we can begin to make wiser decisions, but the consequences of wrong thinking can linger for decades.

6.  The Apostle Paul says the days can be evil. Therefore, we must be careful how we live, not as unwise, but as wise people, who are not foolish but who know the will of God  (Ephesians 5:15-17). Earlier in this letter he also talked about the futility of thinking, darkened understanding, ignorance, and hardened hearts, all because we are separated from God (Ephesians 4:17-18).

How About You?
Why Do You Need Wisdom?

 The last few years have been among the most challenging and confusing years of my life. A good (and wise) friend told me he has just felt his mind cluttered and cloudy so much of the time.

A Christian apologist from a previous generation, Francis Schaeffer, had a great question. It was simply this:  How Then Shall We Live?

That is still the question. And the answer to that question is why we will pursue wisdom all summer--to know how to live as fully devoted followers of Jesus.