To learn requires listening closely - sometimes to receive new knowledge, others to reinforce what we have already received, but we just need reminders in order to fully "use" what we have already learned. One of the ways we learn is to hear and then do - hearing alone is not enough - it must be coupled with either seeing something demonstrated, or getting our own hands dirty by doing it ourselves until it becomes second-nature to us. The key to knowledge moving from simple facts we retain into something which can actually be applied in our lives is this concept of it being "useful" to us. I have retained all kinds of facts over the years - but some are nothing more than useful trivia information! Those things which actually are "useful" to me are things which have helped me deal with stress, create intimacy within relationship, and avoid harmful things in my path. If anyone caught the news about a week ago here in Arizona, they might have seen a city bus leaning precariously in a "sink hole" of sorts caused by a burst water main on the streets of Tempe. The bus driver saw the water flowing, but he drove into the path of the flowing water in spite of what he saw. If you have ever seen a water main break, you will know the water is more than trickling out! It kind of gushes and begins to fill the streets rather quickly. The muddy mess of water did not allow the immediate danger of the roadway to be realized, but something inside those of us who drive Arizona roadways knows water in the roadway is not normal! In fact, they have something called the "Stupid Motorist Law" simply because people attempt to cross running water in storm season and get themselves stuck in rather precarious situations. They see the water, but they don't appreciate the danger. To learn means we see the water, appreciate that others have proven to be rather bad examples of what can happen if we attempt to cross it, and stay put no matter how badly we'd like to be on the other side!
My child, listen closely to my teachings and learn common sense. My advice is useful, so don’t turn away. When I was still very young and my mother’s favorite child, my father said to me: “If you follow my teachings and keep them in mind, you will live. Be wise and learn good sense; remember my teachings and do what I say. If you love Wisdom and don’t reject her, she will watch over you. The best thing about Wisdom is Wisdom herself; good sense is more important than anything else. If you value Wisdom and hold tightly to her, great honors will be yours. It will be like wearing a glorious crown of beautiful flowers. (Proverbs 3:1-9 CEV)
Common sense - who would have thought God would actually direct his kids to use something so "normal"? In religious circles today, it all the rage to be following the most "spiritual" voice one can hear. I daresay the voice of "common sense" probably doesn't sound all that "spiritual", but if we listen closely we often find common sense has some pretty sage advice to give! This idea of common sense or good sense is repeated in in scripture more than a couple of times - so it is something God actually encourages us to use, not in place of wisdom, but as an adjutant to wisdom. An adjutant is one who acts as an assistant to another - so common sense helps us act upon the wisdom we possess.
Maybe we discount it because it is "common". Anything viewed as common is usually associated with the "norm" - it is ordinary, familiar, and shared by many. This is probably why we don't think it is "spiritual" enough to rely upon. The truth is plainly stated - common sense is to be learned and applied just as much as the "spiritual sense" we might develop as we grow in our relationship with Jesus. Actually, scripture equates learning "good sense" with becoming wise. We develop "good sense" as we learn from our mistakes, listen to avoid future mistakes, and employ what we are being taught through the scriptures to develop "safety measures" which are employed in walking "sensibly" in this life.
Wisdom is something to be sought, embraced, and then adhered to as we walk each day. In seeking, we show the intention of heart and mind to actually gain the knowledge we need in order to complete the tasks ahead of us. In embracing what we seek we ware actually moving beyond "good intention" into active participation. This is how wisdom is learned - through active participation, not simply "good intentions". As we embrace wisdom, we see the advantages - one time caught in a sink hole of any sort will discourage us from traveling ground we cannot clearly see as trustworthy! Embracing wisdom involves using what we already know through "common sense" and then aligning it with what the Word of God has to say about our actions.
We may not think our common sense is all that "spiritual", but if you read what scripture has to say, God aligns common sense with his God-given wisdom - they are a two-fold cord. I have met some individuals with genius IQs, but little to know common sense. What happened? For some reason, they embraced all the learning without figuring out the sensibility of it. God wants us to know his words are sensible - they serve a purpose. When we get into these words, they get into us. When they get into us, we become affected by what they require, provide, and promote. We allow Wisdom to relate to what we already know, clarify what we have believed to be true, but which is not, and then keep us steady as we travel on to new areas of learning.
So, we need both - wisdom and common sense. Don't reject the "common" just because you think it is not "spiritual" enough. It may be the very instrument God is using to make sense out of what you are facing today! Just sayin!
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