When You Need To Figure Life Out, God Knows What You Need!

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    Ephesians 3:10-11 says God wants his church to display his manifold glorious wisdom to the world. What a privilege! This happens in our lives as individuals and when we come together as the Body of Christ.

    DAY 1 // From the Message on Sunday

    Read Psalm 1

    1. Have you ever found yourself grasping for real wisdom in the midst of information overload? What does that feel like?
    2. Is the path of wisdom an easy one? Why or why not? Is this any easier for Christ followers? Why or why not?
    3. In the message, the term “flow” was used to describe the wall of endless information that hits us every day. What has been your encounter with “flow”? Have you noticed positives, and have you noticed negatives? What are they?
    4. Contrast wisdom with “flow.” Read Proverbs 1:20-23 and reflect on how this applies to your life.
    5. Read Ecclesiastes 9:17-18 and 10:1-4. Here’s the image from the 1970’s Good News Bible. What does this illustration say to you regarding wisdom?
    6. If wisdom takes time and discipline, what are some practical and real ways that we (people who are so accustomed to the “flow”) can be proactive about getting in touch with God’s wisdom?

    DAY 2 // Walking With the Wise

    Read Hebrews 10:19-25

    If you don’t hang out with wise people, the influence of others will slip into your life in a way that you don’t want it to. 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Bad company corrupts good morals.”

    Proverbs says, “He who walks with wise people becomes wise.” AsChristians, we are intended to grow, not alone, but together. Hebrews says, “Don’t forsake the assembling...” The church is a communitywhere nobody stands alone.

    Read Hebrews 10:19-25. Notice that there are three differentcommands that begin with the phrase “Let us.” Each of these “let us” commands demonstrates how we are to live because Jesus died and rose for us. The third “let us” command specifically focuses on theimportance of community.

    What aspects of community does it emphasize? Why is this important?

    DAY 3 // A Few Thoughts on Wise Counsel

    In Matthew 10:16 Jesus said, “I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

    With this in mind, Christians should not approach life with a naïve sense that nothing can go wrong just because they are following Christ. What does it look like to maintain innocence while being wise?

    How important is wise counsel as we follow Jesus?

    Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” If you want to be wise, seek wise advice. Surround yourself with wise people and wise advice. Let these people get to know you. As a pastor, it is hard to give someone wise counsel if I don’t know them at all. The wisest counsel will come from someone who knows wisdom and knows you as well.

    Listen to Proverbs 27:9: “Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.” The best counsel brings joy to the heart. The best counsel is heartfelt advice. The best counsel comes from a friend.

    Read Proverbs 9:7-9. Has there been a time when you gave counsel to someone and they were not open to it? In hindsight, why do you think they did not receive your counsel?

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

    How do your actions reflect the wisdom you have received from God? Have you done anything this past week that is contrary to what you know to be wise? If so, why?

    Have you noticed the wiser we are, the more humble we are? Wouldn’t you assume it would be opposite? How is wisdom connected to humility? How important is humility when we give counsel to others?

    DAY 4 // Lessons From a Father-In-Law

    Read Exodus 18

    From verses 9-12, what was Jethro’s attitude when he came to meet Moses? Exodus 18:14 describes how, before offering advice, Jethro first asked two clarifying questions to get a better sense of the situationMoses was facing. How do you think this impacted Moses’ willingness to listen to him? What lessons can you learn from Jethro’s approach to giving advice?

    Leonard Sweet Ph.D. has written a terrific book called 11: Indispensable Relationships You Can’t be Without. I highly recommend it. One of therelationships he says we all need in our lives is a Jethro. He also says we need a Yoda, a True Friend, an Encourager, etc. Check it out… it’s a book that will help you grow in wisdom.

    DAY 5 // The Four Streams

    Wisdom is usually the intersection or confluence of four major streams through which wisdom generally flows.

    1. The Stream of the Spirit

    James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all.” I ask God for wisdom several times a day. Proverbs 2:6 says that “the Lord grants wisdom.” There are some decisions that will come to you only when you pray for God’s wisdom and he instills it in your heart and soul. And the most difficult decisions often require an extended season of prayer.

    2. The Stream of People

    Who are your wise companions and advisers? And who are you reading? You don’t have to know someone personally to gain from their wisdom, you can read it. It is very hard to make wise decisions without the wisdom from others.

    3. The Stream of Experience

    The longer we live, actively paying attention to these streams, the more we grow in experience, which carries invaluable wisdom. And you need other people’s experience too. Sometimes you just know you don’t have the right people around you and you have to have the humility and guts to acknowledge it. There’s areason why we have consultants, physicians, marriage counselors,spiritual directors, financial planners, lawyers, and pastors. They have experience we don’t have but need.

    4. The Stream of Pain

    Pain is a powerful teacher. And you can gain wisdom from your own pain or from someone else’s pain. Whenever possible, learn from someone else’s pain. When you see the losses that others have suffered because they had poor boundaries, took on too much, burned out, cut corners, didn’t get advice, or had a moral failure, you know to avoid those roads at all costs.

    When the four streams of wisdom from God, people, experience, and pain flow into your life, they form a mighty river of wisdom that blesses every aspect of your life. Which of these streams has been your biggest wisdom teacher?

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