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Monday, August 12, 2013

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Have you ever lost something?  You know, you put it away so carefully, but when you need it, it is nowhere to be found?  You go all out to uncover every hiding place, don't you?  You even look places you could not imagine yourself putting something, but just in case, you look anyway!  It is a good thing wisdom is not something we have to squirrel away - keeping it tucked away from intruders or interlopers who would like nothing more than to strip us of it.  Wisdom is something we amass because we take the knowledge we have been given and then apply it to our lives.  That which is applied cannot be quickly taken away - for in its application, it becomes part of who we are, not just part of what we possess.

Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding. For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold.  (Proverbs 3:13-14 NLT)

I'd like to think wisdom comes more because of the condition of the heart than the mind.  It is not in the "smarts" we have, but in the "hearing" of our heart where wisdom becomes part of who and what we are.  You may have heard it said, "Knowledge is power".  I think the opposite is true - knowledge only opens the door to learning - once it is applied it brings wisdom, and wisdom makes us powerful beyond measure.  I "know" a lot about how various things work, but it doesn't mean I could build those things from scratch!  I have never applied the knowledge - therefore, all I possess is a little bit of knowledge - not the power to see something created by that knowledge. If I allow God to take the "knowledge" of his scriptures which I "know" in my mind and begin to help me apply what I know to what it is I am doing, I am moving from just having knowledge to learning how to have it affect who I am, what I am doing, and how I am doing it.

I would like to think wisdom is finally getting God's perspective on a matter. All the knowledge we can amass is really our perspective.  Taking what we know and asking God to help us apply it to our live's problems is where knowledge crosses over to wisdom.  We are seeing the problem from a totally new perspective - God's.  Since none of us is capable of seeing the future, we need God to help us apply the right knowledge to today's problems.  As we allow him to do this in us, we are prepared for the events of tomorrow.  When we just amass knowledge, we never really know how to use it when the moments matter.  Getting God's perspective today by allowing him to prepare us in this moment helps us develop the perspective we will need for the moments our future holds in store for us.  

If you have not tried this, maybe it would help you with this lesson.  Put your hands up beside your eyes - kind of cupping them around your eyes so as to cut off your peripheral vision.  What you have just done is essentially create tunnel vision.  You see what is straight ahead of you - but you neglect to see the things which make up the periphery of your present position.  Sure, you could turn your head right or left, but you still don't see everything which remains in your periphery, nor what lies behind.  You have limited input, therefore, you have limited knowledge.  For knowledge to be "full" or "complete", you need to gain the "full perspective".  There is but one source for gaining this perspective - God.  

We have been given a great deal of truth in his Word.  Truth only becomes valuable when it is applied - when we take what we hear and hang out hat on it.  If we are told the chair is sturdy, but never test its sturdiness, when we need it, will we really trust it?  God's goal is for us to gain the truth, but also to test it out!  Oftentimes, the Word actually helps us understand where we are.  It gives us a reference point much like those maps in the mall where you see the bright red arrow indicating "you are here".  As we stand before the map, we gain perspective.  We study it until we are confident we can move on to our next destination.  What the map does is define our perspective - it gives us a reference point by which we know we are headed in the correct direction.  Simply put, so does God's Word.  It gives us a reference point by which we not only know where we are, but it helps define where it is we are to be headed.  

One of the hardest things to really get our hands around is the concept of taking what we know and applying it to what we have before us.  Before we take a step, we evaluate the reference points we have in our perspective, allowing God to refine our perspective and "righting" our direction so we end up a the destination we desire.  Some call this obedience - taking time to "read the map" before taking steps to find the destination.  Wisdom involves obedience - taking what we know and applying it to where we find ourselves. In time, we come to realize what we believe to be true, especially if the knowledge we are applying is God's truth contained in his Word.

Some think wisdom comes with time.  I wish to correct this perspective - for no real wisdom comes from looking intently at the map, seeing the red "you are here" marker.  Wisdom comes when you take what you see on the map to heart - allowing the map to guide your steps to your next destination.  Just sayin!