The Effects of Wisdom

It is no secret the past 10 days have been hard and heavy. Racism has yet again reared its ugly head; Satan is delighting in the disunity and destruction running amok in our nation, neighborhoods, and even our churches. Words have seemed impossible to come by. Questions have been hard to ask. Thoughts have been difficult to formulate.

This morning as I prepared to spend some time with God, I found myself inwardly asking God to give me direction. Words seem limited and contrite. I have been heavily relying on God’s promise that “the Spirit himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings” when we don’t actually know what to pray (Romans 8:26). While I know racism is an evil effect of sin that will never completely go away until Christ returns, I still have a responsibility to work towards reconciliation here and now. But how?

Today, June 3, I read the third chapter in the book of Proverbs. In my devotional time, I try to read the chapter of Proverbs that corresponds with the calendar date. Today it was a way of God answering my unspoken groanings. Here is what it says:

“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, listening closely to wisdom and directing your heart to understanding; furthermore, if you call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding…Then you will understand righteousness, justice, and integrity—every good path.”

Proverbs 3:1-6, 9 CSB (emphasis added)

Right there is the answer for understanding justice—wisdom.

However, gaining wisdom is no easy task. Notice all of the action words required for gaining wisdom: accept, store up, listening, directing your heart, call out, lift your voice, seek. Gaining wisdom is not passive. We have to put effort into searching for wisdom, calling out for it, seeking it out like we would a treasure chest filled with the most precious jewels. But God is faithful. James 1:5 promises that if we ask God for wisdom he will “generously and ungrudgingly” give it to us. If we put in the effort, God will give us wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. It is only with this godly wisdom that we can truly understand righteousness, justice, and integrity.

However, there is an imposter of wisdom out there. Don’t allow the flimsy substitution of worldly wisdom fool you. Wisdom of the world is full of “bitter envy and selfish ambition…such wisdom does not come down from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there is disorder and every evil practice” (James 3:14-16). And isn’t that exactly what we are seeing now? So many have sought wisdom, but they’ve sought it from the world, not from God. The world doesn’t bring peace—it brings chaos.

Instead, the wisdom we should seek, the wisdom Solomon wants us to actively ask God for, is wisdom from above.

“The wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without pretense.”

James 3:17

Man, if us Christians were actively pining after God’s wisdom, think of how drastically different our world would be!

I know that many of us, particularly white Americans, are wanting to do our part to end the unjust practice of racism. Let us grieve for the injustices we see. Let us learn how we can walk side-by-side with our brothers and sisters, doing our very best to understand their reality. But let us also whole-heartedly seek after the wisdom of God. Only then will we really understand “righteousness, justice, and integrity—every good path” (Proverbs 3:9).

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