Sunday, January 06, 2008

What Does Wisdom Look Like?

Wisdom is a quality hard to put our mind around. We often get it confused with having knowledge. Knowledge certainly plays a part in wisdom, because without the knowledge of God in our hearts, we cannot possibly have wisdom. Wisdom is being able to apply what God has taught us and implanted within us to other people in our sphere of influence. Wisdom held within benefits no one.

So do others see you as wise? What does wisdom look like to you? When you face conflict of any kind, whether with a co-worker, your family, or your neighbors, does wisdom prevail in your responses to them? We know that wisdom comes from above, not from below. As Christians, we should respond differently to conflicts and upsetting circumstances because of the Spirit of Christ within us.

The Book of James tells us that wisdom is first pure. We are to respond to others wih the pure intent and heart of God, rather than our own selfish demands of greed, envy and selfish ambition. When we meet conflict head on, do we show the presence of Christ within us?

Wisdom is then peaceable. We long for peace rather than conflict. Even when circumstances can never be the same again, wisdom from above helps us to see that the foolishness of a bitter or revengeful spirit is wrong. Wisdom allows us to value peace over conflict.

Wisdom displays gentleness. A listening ear and a gentle voice can lower the temperature of a difficult moment. "A gentle answer turns away wrath."

Wisdom allows us a willingness to yield. One person willing to give up the urge to get even or be unforgiving can make all the difference in a difficult situation. Returning good for evil is not a weakness, but strength to do what is right in the eyes of God. When we focus on God, it allows us to give up the need to return harm to those who have hurt us, and be forgiving.

After all, the All-Wise One, Jesus, gave up his right to get even with those that crucified him on a cruel cross. Instead, he said, "Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do." He then gave us His all so that we might have it all with Him for eternity.

When we display wisdom that comes from God, others will see the difference in our responses to others. They will be amazed as it allows Jesus to be seen and glorified in us. They will ponder in their own hearts that the difference is inviting to their own hearts and they will desire that same wisdom. Wisdom will not and cannot come from the knowledge that they have gained in the world from books or personal experience. Wisdom that makes a difference can only come from knowing God personally!

May the wisdom that "comes for above" implant within us peace!


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