Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Wisdom and the “law” of Love . . . in the world, but not of it / an essay by Anon E Moose
Sometimes God speaks to me about holy things that are difficult for my feeble mind to grasp. I do trust His Spirit (the Spirit of Truth) to reveal things to me, but quite frequently it does not “flow” in typical human terms or structure. Forgive me if this seems disjointed or confused, but I trust as I write and put things together with his help, it will become clearer by the end.
During quiet times lately the topic of wisdom has continued to be opened up to me, (and coincidentally Patti too.) Scripture passages have led us also to other writers who have attempted to define Biblical wisdom and truth, and how we can live in the world, but not be of it. So, bear with me as I attempt to put to paper these thoughts of mine and others as prompted by the Holy Spirit.
Where to start? Probably at the beginning, that is, with the original prompting or opening, then, perhaps, it will come together as God intended? I have been reading through the Bible this year using Eugene Peterson’s version The Message. I am not “studying” inductively or otherwise, just reading it as a narrative and trying to grasp the overall “message”, (to use Peterson’s title language.) Seeing the Bible as a whole can be enlightening, giving us the broad picture or tapestry God so intricately weaves in the lives of His people and His creation.
Having recently finished Kings and Chronicles, (and having become fairly depressed and disgusted with our forefathers behavior described there,) I am finally to the “wisdom” books, and none too soon! Peterson’s introduction to this section of The Message Bible is excellent, and the following excerpt really touched my heart.
“It is fairly common among people who get interested in religion or God to get proportionately disinterested in their jobs and families, their communities and their colleagues – the more of God, the less of the human. But that is not the way God intends it. Wisdom counters this tendency by giving witness to the precious nature of human experience in all its forms, whether or not it feels or appears “spiritual.”
I have known or believed for some time that knowledge, (that is “head knowledge”), is not necessarily wisdom. In fact, it has become clear to me that the two are very different things. To put it bluntly, I have known many very intelligent people, full of incredible “head knowledge”, but lacking wisdom, or what some might refer to as “common sense”. Not that “wisdom” in the Biblical sense is merely common sense, but the reference serves to illustrate simply that there is a difference.
Jesus’ brother James was full of this Biblical wisdom, enabled by the Holy Spirit once Christ ascended and sent the Spirit to reveal all truth. While some of us think of James letter as good direction for churches, it is also an example of wisdom in action. As Peterson puts it in his introduction to James letter, “Deep and living wisdom is on display here, wisdom both rare and essential, it is skill in living.” Douglas and Tenney in their Bible Dictionary further comment that, “James’s letter is wisdom literature at its best, a clear mirror of the teaching of Jesus.” So, it seems that wisdom is not just knowledge, (although it requires knowledge, especially of God in a deeper, not carnal, sense,) but also ability and technical skill for daily living as godly people.
Please, bear with me, there are some wonderful, redeeming truths in all this. Truths that help us understand how we can live our own lives as “personal sacrifices” in response to God’s love and Grace in Christ Jesus, becoming more like Him each day. While I love to read the many classic Christian authors, including those from past centuries, some of the most profound truths have come from unlikely sources, simple people trying their hardest to live as Christ would have them do. Often, it is simply their lives that speak the Truth, not any flowery words or intellectual musings. Somehow, God beautifully weaves His wisdom into intimate relationship with His love, they are inseparable, and their fulfillment is seen in Christ Jesus.
We know that God is love, and have 1 John 4 to make that fact clear to us. So when Biblical wisdom acts, it acts in love. My, my, wouldn’t the world be different and more peaceful if people acted out of God’s wisdom rather than fleshly (carnal) knowledge and emotion?! Hmmm, are you seeing anything yet? So, how do we get this knowledge? How can we feeble humans expect to have and exercise this Wisdom from God? The answer is simple, but does require our participation, our cooperation with our beloved Abba Father.
So, when we are confused about life, or looking for satisfactory answers to our questions where should we turn? The Bible – yep, getting older has some good advantages to it, not the least of which is finally realizing that God will speak to us and guide us in and through His written Word.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.” Psalm 111:10
This is where knowledge comes in. We must know God to fear Him, (where “fear” means awesome reverence.) When we understand how indescribably large and mighty God is, beyond our ability to comprehend, but also how much He loves us, then we will “FEAR” Him. This “knowledge”, which resides in our hearts and souls, (not just our minds), is truly “the beginning of wisdom.” There are many examples of how this wisdom innate in Jesus the man, was acted out for the entire world to see.
John 8
1But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
11"No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
That is wisdom and love acting together, inseparable. I used to hate reading the Old Testament, and still don’t like all the death and destruction contained in those texts, but I have come to see them in the Light of Christ as I’ve grown older and “wiser”? Christ as the fulfillment of the law is perfect. And, love is the key aspect in that perfection . . . sacrificial love. It is this wisdom-love, this love-wisdom that can enable us to live in the world, but not be of it. Allowing us to reflect Christ in our words and deeds, in our lives, bringing light to a dark and needy world.
Recently for Valentine Day Patti gave me a little book titled, “Life’s Journeys According to Mr. Rogers – Things to Remember Along the Way”. Yes, Mr. Rogers, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood” Mr. Rogers. Some people may not know that Fred Rogers was an ordained Presbyterian Minister, but his ministry was to kids and families through television. I was struck by the simple truths in that book, all affirmed by Holy Scripture, but presented in little stories of life and lives of people Mr. Rogers met “along the Way.”
Here’s one example; “My friend asked one of the monks why he felt that over the years the community had dwindled from sixty to twelve. And his reply was, “We did everything right, but somewhere in all that living and praying and successful working, we lost he most important thing of all, the thing that was so contagious and attracted people to us. We lost the naked love. Little by little the success replaced the love.””
Hmmm, 1 Corinthians 13 – love first, love conquers all, love wins! Somehow, this wisdom/love enables us to live Kingdom lives in a broken and dark world. But, it requires us to be continuously connected to that Love and Wisdom. Ah yes, now some of you are getting it, you are saying along with me . . . “Abide”! “Abide in me because apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15 – the vine life. That is how our lives become “hidden in Christ” . . . as we abide in Him – surrender, relinquishment, total dependence on Him . . . then we will become all that God intended us to be, in this world and forever.
That finally brings me to somewhat of a conclusion on this topic. And, I hope you have gained some insight from this meandering, something to encourage you along the Way. I will be the first (however reluctantly) to confess that I don’t get this Christ life right often or most of the time. I stumble too much, but the Lord is faithful to pick me up, dust me off, and set me on the Narrow Road again. It is in the daily things we encounter that we have the greatest opportunity to shine Jesus, to reflect our Savior to the world around us. In our workplaces, schools, stores, restaurants, etc. where we meet the lost and needy of His flock. Each one of us has a tremendous ministry right under our noses! But, it will take all the wisdom and love we can be filled with to be that light of Christ . . . it cannot come from ourselves.
For me, practically speaking, it is often a “hard place” to live . . . this walk along the Narrow Road. I am compelled to be righteous and just, while also loving. There is a constant tension in this world as a Christian, a Christ follower. People expect us to take sides in all kinds of debates and controversies; abortion and homosexual issues at the top. We are called to be loving even as we hold to the Truth which the Spirit has imparted to us. How we abide in Christ, exercising wisdom love makes all the difference. For sure, we will be persecuted for our beliefs one way or another, but we cling to a truth, a love, greater than any of this world. “Christ in us, the Hope of Glory.” Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, in Him we have that “abiding” provided for us, we just need to exercise it . . . that training that Paul often talked about. Spiritual disciplines; prayer, worship, service, etc. all help us stay connected to the Source of wisdom and love.
Well, I have come to the end (at least as I sense it for this writer), and I am not sure if I have conveyed any truth to you who may read this. But, I trust God, as always, to prompt you to seek Him further in your way and time. May He speak encouragement to your heart.
Only by Grace,
Pat (aka Anon E. Moose)
20But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.[d] 21I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. 23No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
24See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25And this is what he promised us—even eternal life.
26I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him. 1 John 2

No comments:

Post a Comment