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Saturday, October 12, 2013

I need an illustration

Scripture defines happiness as finding wisdom and gaining understanding - "happy is the man..." who embraces both.  In seeking wisdom so as to find and in gaining understanding so as to not let it go, we are actually placing ourselves in a position to enjoy well-being and contentment - because we are in an atmosphere of good fellowship!  Wisdom and understanding affect our lives by bringing contentment - even in situations when it would otherwise be difficult to find it.  They also give us a sense of well-being because we can stand assured our course is pre-designed or pre-defined by someone who sees the big picture.  There is also the sense of being brought into a place of fellowship and intimacy with the one who does the designing and defining! These surely describe happiness better than most of the ways the world determines to define happiness for me!

Dear friend, guard Clear Thinking and Common Sense with your life; don’t for a minute lose sight of them.  They’ll keep your soul alive and well, they’ll keep you fit and attractive.  You’ll travel safely, you’ll neither tire nor trip.  You’ll take afternoon naps without a worry, you’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep.  No need to panic over alarms or surprises, or predictions that doomsday’s just around the corner, because God will be right there with you; he’ll keep you safe and sound.  (Proverbs 3:21-26 MSG)

We are frequently reminded in this Book of Proverbs of the "value" of wisdom - it profits us more than silver or gold.  Profit is a return on investment.  As many would say, you have to spend to see a yield on your investment.  You take a little risk with whatever it is you spend, but your hope is based on the probability of a good return.  There is an advantage to the investment - much like there is an advantage to seeking wisdom - our return is to both gain understanding and to truly enter into a place of contented happiness.  Some of the "returns" which comes with seeking wisdom are defined as eternal life, riches and honor, being guided down delightful paths, and satisfaction as we pass over these paths.  

Our part is to embrace wisdom - to allow it to be an enclosure for our hearts and minds.  An embrace is something which encloses something within its grasp.  When we seek wisdom so as to embrace it, we are desiring to take it in without questioning, in a ready manner. One sign we are embracing wisdom is the evidence of it in our daily lives.  When there is a lack of contentment, maybe we just need to seek a little more of wisdom.  Where there is a lack of direction, maybe we need to sit in the embrace of wisdom a little longer. There are a lot of things poised to tear us away from wisdom's embrace, so we must guard our time in her clutches, for this is precious time indeed.  Wisdom is really not a "thing" as much as it is a person - Jesus.  We are to seek him so as to embrace him tightly.  We are to desire his embrace above all others - no other satisfying in quite the same manner.  

As we travel down this path we call "life", we have a lot of choices - good planning and insight help us to make the right choices when the paths seem to split off, affording more than one way to travel.  Good planning sets out a course before the first leg of the journey is even undertaken.  An architect spends a great deal of time preparing the blueprints of the building long before the ground is even broken to begin the building!  There is forethought and wisdom in the choice of placement of the building - even the selection of the lot on which it is built will affect the architect's choices about how the building will be "postured".  Why would we think we could just build our lives apart from the divine design already "drafted" for them?  We need to plans he prepares in order to have the construction turn out as designed!

Wisdom looks to the master architect (Jesus) to provide the design - defining the "posture" of our lives.  Insight gives us the actually "see" the design as it unfolds.  Insight also describes the investigation of what is below the surface - for understanding what lays beneath often determines the stability of the structure.  Insight gives us perspective - wisdom gives us the design. Architectural plans come to life when an architectural illustrator takes the images of the designer and displays them in graphic detail as they will be when finished.  What I cannot see in the "plans", I can gain insight into when I see the illustration before me.  I may not see the intricacies of the design with the illustration, but it gives me a perspective to see how the pieces fit. I still need the plans - but the illustration helps me know where I am headed.

Truth be told, we sometimes are a little guilty of veering from the plans, or even working outside of what we have insight into.  We want to take short cuts with the "building" of our lives.  I don't know about you, but just about every short cut I have attempted to take when I am constructing something costs me something else!  Try to speed up the process by using a drill to screw in the screw instead of a screwdriver and I might just strip the head of the screw, drive it in too fast and split the wood, etc.  The "time" it takes to actually take "all" the steps, in the right order, will save us greater heartache down the road.  These steps are predefined by the one who holds the plans. Insight into his plans helps us see clearly the need for each step.  Just sayin!