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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Invitation to be "bully-free"

5-6 It's better to be wise than strong; intelligence outranks muscle any day.
Strategic planning is the key to warfare; to win, you need a lot of good counsel.
(Proverbs 24:5-6)

Strength is often admired in another.  We look at someone who appears to have life all together and we stand in awe.  Deep inside, we are thinking, "I wish I could be like them" - all the while considering just how we'd respond to the events the other person is standing so strong through.  Why do we compare ourselves with others like that?  It is so self-defeating!

Our passage today focuses on our development of wisdom, not just the "stamina" to make it through stuff in life.  It is much different to understand the events of the day than it is to just be able to "get through" them!  Our focus is so often on the outward - what we see MUST be reality, right?  The truth is that what we SEE is often what somebody wants to PORTRAY.  It may be a far cry from the reality of what is going on in that individual's heart, mind, or emotions.  It is a FRONT.

Let's divide this passage into parts:
  1. Wisdom outweighs brute or brawn.  As a kid who got picked on a lot on the playground, I associate with this!  There were a lot of girls "bigger" than me that could get me out of those swings faster than butter melts on a hot sidewalk in summer.  It took me a while to realize that if the teacher could "catch on" to what was happening, she'd intervene (wisdom).  I did not need to "tattle" on them, but I could simply stand, looking longingly at those swings long enough and she'd see I wasn't playing.  Before long, she would ask the "bigger girls" to give us smaller ones a chance to swing before the bell rang.  Victory!  Wisdom is applied knowledge - it is the engrafting of what we have learned into the very actions of our being.  We admire the brawn, but it is the wisdom that has the biggest reward.
  2. To win in warfare, you need wise counsel.  I admire people who seem to have their lives in order - living according to a plan and planning every step of how they live.  But...they seldom do well when the "plan" gets disturbed.  In fact, they cannot function!  Life is a battle - it needs strategic planning, but even the best laid plans of man can be smashed to pieces in a moment.  Wise counsel is invaluable when the battle "heats up" - when the "plans" seem to be coming unraveled at the seams.  Our enemy has a strategy - we need one, too.  His strategy is to catch us "off-guard".  Ours should be to have our eye on Christ.
Good counsel is found in the knowledge that comes from the Word of God, the leading imparted by the Holy Spirit in the moment of decision, and in the keeping of friends who are well-grounded in the Word of God.  The battle is won in the company we keep, the knowledge we seek, and the object of our affections!  

Our invitation today is to stop admiring the bullies!  Their strength is a facade!  Their life is really not that "all together" as it appears on the surface.  The strength we need to stand in the heat of the battle comes in the quiet moments of the fellowship we keep with a holy God.  It is found in relating well, and often, with God.  Getting to know him, how he works, and what he values is what gives us the ability to stand strong when faced with the battles of our lives.  Why not change your focus today - moving from looking up to the one who "appears" strong to the one who actually IS strength!