Friday, January 21, 2011

*BEST OF DTB #50* The Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: Wisdom

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are Seven: Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, Fortitude, Counsel, Piety and fear of the Lord. I am asking the other writers here at Deeper Truth Blog to help me in explaining them. Just pick one and run with it! I have decided to start with Wisdom.

Wisdom, I believe is, is exemplified in the other 6, because Wisdom holds them in balance. All of the other 6 are connected to Wisdom, in some way. In fact, the Bible tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom (Psalm 111:10).

Wisdom is that paragon virtue that allows someone to see clearly through all of the haze. When God asked Salomon to choose a gift , Salomon chose Wisdom. A wise choice (irony intended).

We live in a world where Wisdom has never been more needed and has never been in shorter supply. Wisdom is not simply the accumulation of information. Some people are very intelligent but lack the ability to efficiently process the vast amounts of information they possess. An over appreciation for one's own intellect is a very dangerous thing.

In fact, some of the wisest people that have ever lived were viewed as intellectual lightweights by their own generations. The world is not impressed with Wisdom because Wisdom isn't flashy.
In this world, appearances are what matter and people are drawn less by the substance of a speaker than by the power of his oration, less by the intrinsic value of a person than by their physical appearance and less by the solitude of a peaceful heart than by the lure of money and gold.

Wisdom sees all these things in their real value and understands that what the soul truly desires for eternity is infinitely more valuable than what tantalizes the eyes for a moment.

Here are certain things that I believe prevent people from progressing in Wisdom (other than the obvious- not asking for it).

Fear of the Lord.
The best place to start is the beginning and, as I mentioned earlier, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom. That fear should be a healthy fear, not an irrational one. One should not imagine God as a mean old man who simply cannot wait to strike you down the minute you make a mistake. Yet, one should also be mindful that God is God. His Justice and Sovereignty are mitigated by His overflowing love and mercy but not eliminated by them. The wise man constantly forms His mind to the knowledge that he stands ever in God's presence and that God- not men- will be his judge. When caught in the crossfire of two supervisors with conflicting instructions, you would cede to the higher authority, right? After all, obeying the higher authority will save you from being fired by the lower one but not the other way around.

Likewise, the Bible tells us that we are foolish if we disregard the fear of God- for any reason!

Matthew 10:28

28And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

So many times, we base our decisions on what we see right now, without consideration of the possible long term implications of our decisions. This is true both of reward and of consequence. Sin is often nothing more than choosing what we want now at the expense of what we really want.

Wisdom enables us to see the true value in all things rather than be dazzled by the shine of the moment, or become despondent over our present trials. In essence, Wisdom is a demonstration of faith in the fact that God alone knows and understands us perfectly and sees what we have experienced, are experiencing and will experience. Having this knowledge, we can be wise enough to know that His will is always the best choice regardless of the situation.

Wisdom allows us to discern and discernment is the path to truth. Wisdom is not suspension of knowledge, rather, it is the correct use of knowledge. It is not in always knowing the answer, that makes us succeed in life. It is in knowing who has the answers and being obedient.

Realizing that no earthly joy is worth the pains of hell and that no earthly pain is too much a price for the joys of heaven is what separates the wise man from the fool. The fool learns too late that when this life ends, eternity begins. The fool is preoccupied what what this world can give him and that causes him endless anxiety. The wise man's mind is at peace.

Wisdom recognizes the paradoxical fact that one who seeks only his own happiness will never posses it while he who seeks to please God and deny himself, will find life.

Matthew 16
24* Then Jesus told his disciples, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? 27

The Bible tells us that the wise man builds his house on the rock.

Matthew 7
24* "Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; 25 and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; 27 and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it."
It is not that the wise man enjoys the storm, or doesn't hope it passes over. It is just that it is the foolish man sings and dances and fails to prepare, even as he is being warned that the storm is coming. An unfortunate, but very literal example of this occurred in 1969, when 24 people decided to have a party even as a Category 5 hurricane closed in on them.

Introspection and humility

It is Wisdom that allows a man to take an honest inventory of himself and make the needed course changes to his life. The wise man uses his experience to become a better person and lead others to a better life.

A healthy skepticism

Finding the balance between gullibility and cynicism is a key to wisdom. Learning that what sounds too good to be true, often is and learning to train one's instincts are important. However, one must be on guard against reading motives from innocent actions.

In closing, Wisdom is the ability to see the world as it really is. It is the eyes that let us detect spin, see through empty promises and reduce the complexities of life into simple choices of right and wrong. Wisdom allows us to see Satan's trickery even when masked behind the good intentions of friends.

Matthew 16

21* * From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him and began to rebuke him, saying, "God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you." 23* But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance * to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men."

May we all pray for this gift.

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