When I was in Boy Scouts I had to earn a “tote-n-chip” card in order to be able to carry a pocket knife to Boy Scout events. Anytime we were unsafe with our pocket knives we had a corner torn off. When you had all four corners torn off you lost that privilege and your parents were also to confiscate your knife. You then had to re-earn the card by completing some safety lessons.
We found this ratty old baseball at home. Baseballs have a bouncy ball in the center, or so I was told – I had never seen the inside of a baseball. I really, really wanted to get that bouncy ball out so I decided, exercising my “great” wisdom to cut it out with my pocket knife. The blade slipped off of the ball and I ended up stabbing myself in my left hand between my index finger and thumb. I still have the scar today, and my dad ripped up my card!
J.I. Packer described wisdom this way:
Wisdom is the power to see, and the inclination to choose, the best and highest goal, together with the surest means of attaining it. Wisdom is, in fact, the practical side of moral goodness. As such, it is found in its fullness only in God. He alone is naturally and entirely and invariably wise.
Lacking wisdom I pursued the wrong goal, and used lousy means to achieve that goal. God however has perfect wisdom, and when we lack wisdom we can ask God who will give it to those who ask, (James 1:5). The problem with most people is they don’t ask. They pursue the wrong goals, or they may have worthy goals by are going about it through the wrong means. Proverbs addresses that very issue.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones, (Proverbs 3:5-8, ESV).
The Hebrew word for trust gives the picture of laying flat upon. We want to lie flat upon God and trust in His wise commands given in His word. We are not to lean upon our own understanding though. When we trust in our own understanding, we fail to recognize that God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts. His ways are higher than our ways, (Isaiah 55:8-9). We are not to lay flat upon our wisdom. We are not to “be wise in our own eyes.”
So often I encounter kids with the ministry that I serve who are wise in their own eyes. They do what they think is right and often wonder why they keep getting into trouble. They are having what a counselor friend of my describes as SOS moments – “Stuck On Stupid”. I often challenge these kids asking, “how’s that working for you?”
Proverbs 3 tells us that we not lean on our own understanding. If we fear the Lord, which the Bible describes as the beginning of wisdom, (Proverbs 1:7), He will make straight our paths. We are following His ways. Not that life will be perfect, but He is a far better leader than we are. His wisdom is indescribably more than ours.
We we seek God’s wisdom we will turn from evil. It will bring us to a place of repentance and we will experience healing. Foolish people reject that wisdom. They don’t fear God. The Bible tells us that “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing,” (1 Corinthians 1:18, ESV). They simply don’t get it. They reject the very thing that can give them healing – a relationship with Christ who is “the power of God and the wisdom of God,” (1 Corinthians 1:24). To those who are being saved we see the cross for what it truly is – the power of God, (1 Corinthians 1:18).
Whose wisdom are you choosing today?