Sunday, January 4, 2015

Seeking Wisdom in the New Year and Considering Our Ways 

"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. Wisdom is more precious than rubies;
    nothing you desire can compare with her. She offers you long life in her right hand,
    and riches and honor in her left. She will guide you down delightful paths;
    all her ways are satisfying. Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
    happy are those who hold her tightly."
Proverbs 3:13-18 (NLT)

New years resolutions fly around this time of year; many worthy and good goals. Yet rarely do we hear the resolution "this year I am going to seek God with all my heart, I am going to seek wisdom, and I am going to ask God to show me these treasures." When wisdom is sought first, we are better equipped to fully accomplish what God has for us. Wisdom is not elusive; but those who truly seek God must apply themselves with their whole mind and heart.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." James 1:5

God generously gives us His wisdom, for He is the only source of truth. He is the living fountain of wisdom and He wants to give us this tree of life. Financial goals, fitness goals, growing in a skill, job goals, these can be good things, but often they are the only focus. God is pushed aside as if He is not to be sought with as much, if not more diligence than the rest of these things! We will often succeed in a more peaceful, joyful way in these goals when we seek God first. He then gives us the wisdom to know how to walk the path of life and move towards the goals He puts in front of us. God is the "Captain" of the ship of our life, yet so often we don't think we need Him and we put ourselves in His place.

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." Ephesians 5:15-17

Walking the path of the wise requires a reordering of priorities. We must consider our ways thoughtfully, ask God for direction, and reorder our steps. Old habits may need to fall away, but God will help us towards to new, peaceful way so that we develop habits of wisdom and truth. Seeking God, reading His word, and asking the Holy Spirit to show us the ways of wisdom and the truth of walking with God every day and applying disciplines to our life. First, our hearts must be turned to God and any other idols in His place must fall. Sometimes this means we say no to tasks, activities, and material things so that we can say 'yes' to God. We must examine our hearts to see if we are shoving God aside with meaningless things, perhaps because at times we are afraid to change old habits, let go of control, and hand the control over to God.

"But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere." James 3:17

The wisdom from God is perfect. He will guide us and show us His loving ways. Giving up old habits is nothing to fear because God's ways lead to the fruits of righteousness. Our own ways lead to confusion, chaos, lack of growth and discipline, and often we don't even know the road we are really traveling. We haven't measured our steps by any plumb line, and all our ways, decisions, actions----should be measured and considered by our plumb line, the foundation of our faith, God's word. He gave it to us as a great treasure, a guide for life, and a fountain showing us the way to righteous living. 

"But let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:24

Each of us, in desiring to seek God more in the new year, should want to boast in the end that we are truly coming to know Him. The One who is steadfast love, justice and righteousness. This is better than boasting that we have built the best retirement fund, the best gym workout, a promotion or the best remodel of our homes. Knowing God, seeking wisdom, and ordering our steps are the best things to be proud of. 

Many desire to do this, yet ask "how?" "How is it possible to reorder my ways?" First, seek God daily. Ask Him for wisdom to restart again. Study the ways of God's people in the Bible, and the verses on living a holy life. Eliminate things that are not pure in your life. Watching shows that are violent, promote ungodly living and ideas, slowly sink into the heart and mind, they are also a distraction from what really matters. Reading romance novels (trashy ones) promote wrong ideas about life and love and do not grow the mind and heart toward God. Ask God to reorder  pathways of thought. He will change our minds to be transformed and renewed so that old toxic thought patterns are replaced by godly thinking. Spending too much time on the internet seeking useless knowledge, rather than seeking God can be ways we are ordering our steps in the wrong direction. Being undisciplined or wasteful with our time and lifestyle can turn us quickly down the wrong path. If we seek to replace the impure things in our lives with pure things of God, He will guide us and direct us on His paths of wisdom and peace.

With wisdom comes joy, understanding, and peace. Resolving to seek God with all of our heart is the most worthwhile resolution of all.

"Who is like the wise? And who knows the interpretation of a thing? A man's wisdom makes his face shine, and the hardness of his face is changed." Ecclesiastes 8:1

"Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days. “With God are wisdom and might; he has counsel and understanding." Job 12:12-13

"Patience is the companion of wisdom." --Augustine

"Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom." --Charles Spurgeon

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