Title: Keys to Wisdom, Part 1
Theme: Grasping the Wisdom of God
“Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost you all you have, get understanding. Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.” (Proverbs 4:7-8)
God’s wisdom is what the child of God needs to help him to understand his spiritual resources and exercise his gifts under the influence of agape love.
Proverbs chapter four comprises of three discourses on the value of instruction, exhortation, command, and motivation. The whole of Scripture gives us some practical applications that can be accomplished by all who are searching for wisdom. This resource, wisdom, is not like the gifts of the Holy Spirit that are given as He determines. (1 Corinthians 12:11) All who are willing to pay the cost to getting understanding, embrace and esteem this wonderful resource from God can enjoy wisdom.
Jesus taught a lot about the two master disciplines of “hearing and doing” which when applied whole heartedly, enables the child of God to live a life of stability and be useful in the purposes of God.
I would propose to you that God’s wisdom is what the child of God needs to help him to understand his spiritual resources and exercise his gifts under the influence of agape love. God’s wisdom enables him, and the Body of Christ he serves, enjoy that abundant life promised in Christ Jesus.
Just what preparations need to be made in the heart of the child of God, in order for him to enjoy the blessings of having God’s wisdom? The Christian who takes Jesus seriously will pay the cost of pain staking study of God’s Word. As he studies he finds that there are four basic disciplines to making the two master disciplines of hearing and doing a practical part of his Christian walk. They are 1.) Attention. 2.) Meditation. 3.) Obedience. And 4.) Endurance. In this message we will come to understand attention and meditation.
It is a necessity that we have an awakening in our hearts on what it really takes to have intimacy with the Lord.
Attention, meditation, obedience and endurance were fluent in the life of Christ. All these require a willingness to be disciplined so we can beat the flesh that so wants to rule in our hearts. Our response to the Word of God determines our relationship with God, with Christ and fellowship in the Holy Spirit. It is a necessity that we have an awakening in our hearts on what it really takes to have intimacy with the Lord.
You only have so much energy. Therefore, Christians must not spend time filling their minds with stuff that feed the flesh. Pleasing the flesh causes you to burn up energy that is needed for the study of, meditating on and putting into practice God’s Word. Every minute you spend reading or watching anything you’re burning energy. Make sure you have energy for the Lord in your day.
The child of God must not only watch the amount of energy he is burning but also be aware of his attitude and response to the written Word of God. Christians must literally have a marriage relationship with Christ as Him being the husband and we being the bride. Consider with me this marriage relationship.
All of us get stuff in the mail and if you are like me, you sometimes briefly look through it, and then toss it. Now, they are not going to be broken hearted over the fact that we did not reply to their response card. They fully expect that to happen more often than not. You or I have not been convicted by the Holy Spirit for our actions because we have never established a relationship with them.
Remember, we are considering the marriage relationship. Suppose one of the spouses in any marriage left a note, leaving some sort of instructions expressing something that is important to them and is good for the welfare of the family as well. Suppose this spouse puts the note were their other spouse could see it.
Consider how the spouse would feel if the other one in the marriage relationship just half heartedly looked at the note or disregards it. What if the spouse reads the note but chooses not to meditate upon what it says or stay steadfast as to accomplish the request? What if the spouse just chooses to disobey the instructions? If this attitude continues on, what would that do in regards to intimacy in the marriage relationship? You would have just two people living under one roof. The relationship would be crushed, scarred and cold.
Christians who feel that their relationship with the Lord is growing cold or that God is far from them are Christians who are disregarding God’s Word. They are not giving attention to, meditating upon, obeying or enduring through what God has called them to do. They know God’s Word is around, they may glance at it, they may even read it once in a while, but they are not seeking to gain revelation from nor are they praying for illumination of the Word of God in their lives.
A man cannot go around his house quoting “[Wife,] submit to your [husband.]” (Ephesians 5:22) Until he has given attention to, meditated upon, strived to obey and endured through, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.” (Ephesians 5:25) Just quoting Scripture in the marriage relationship does not bring intimacy, even if it is on marriage.
Just quoting or knowing God’s Word does not bring intimacy in a relationship with the Lord or enable you to have fellowship in the Holy Spirit. Just speaking forth “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)
This will not birth forth a love relationship with God or Christ and immediately give you wisdom. Godliness is not the results of responding to Biblical principles, but responding to the Person Jesus Christ. It begins with loving Christ as He loves you and doing whatever it takes to understand what He expects of you. The child of God who wants to walk in the wisdom of God will not ignore God’s Word, he will be prayerfully reading it and obeying it.
Mankind will give their attention to someone and determining who gets your attention is the first issue that must be settled before you are going to enjoy the wisdom of God.
Once the child of God has allowed the Holy Spirit to awaken his heart to what needs to be done to have intimacy with the Lord, then he can begin to apply the four basic disciplines, the first one being “Attention:”
The Psalmist wrote, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding…” (Ps. 111:10) Mankind will give their attention to someone and determining who gets your attention is the first issue that must be settled before you are going to enjoy the wisdom of God. Many Bible teachers believe that “Lady Wisdom” in Proverbs 1:20 is a plea of Christ. It says, “Wisdom calls aloud in the streets, she raises her voice in the public squares.” The Christian who has ears to hear turns toward God because His Word says, “For the Lord gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:6) He stores up sound wisdom for the upright.” (Proverbs 2:7 NAS) King Solomon writes through divine inspiration, “My son, give attention to my Wisdom. Incline your ear to my understanding.” (Proverbs 5:1)
Never, in Proverbs is a man advised to listen to his own heart or to the heart of his peers. He is warned not to listen to seductive women, to crowds and mobs, to companions bent on being destructive and wasteful, or to evil men. Christians must understand that the cornerstone of wisdom is dependent upon a submissive heart that shows giving attention to God. It is important to note that God will give direction through true God fearing parents and men and woman who have proven faithful to the Word of God. When these people speak it is wise to listen.
If you are in the middle of a mine field, you will give attention to the man who holds the map that shows were every mine is placed. You will let him tell you were to place each foot until you get out of that mine field. You are standing in the middle of the field of life. The flesh, the world and the devil have placed mines around that can cause you harm and even death. It is time to give attention to the God who is all knowing, loving and trust worthy until you step out of this life into heaven with Him.
The Lord wants the Word of God to literally become so much of a part of our lives that we meditate on his word daily, not just at a Bible study or in church on Sunday morning.
Along with giving attention, the Child of God must apply the basic discipline of meditation. The Bible says “…Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them.” (Proverbs 4:4-5)
The Lord wants the Word of God to literally become so much of a part of our lives that we meditate on his word daily, not just at a Bible study or in church on Sunday morning. The Christian’s goal is to think Biblically. He is to ask himself, “Is what I am hearing, thinking, saying and living in agreement with the Bible?” The Word of God should be so much in his heart that he begins to think like Christ. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5 KJV)
In the practical discipline of meditation, there are just things you do not forget. Christians who are healthy don’t forget their phone number, e-mail or often-visited websites. They do not forget the names of their children or parents or important appointments. They do not forget them because they make it a point to think on these things through out their day and during their life time.
Consider if a man wants to please his wife, and if he really wants to have intimacy in their marriage, he must do some research on what she likes and even what could cause her irritations or a broken heart. A husband who loves his wife is like Christ who loved the church. This man will understand that there are things that he does not want to forget because of the importance of his wife to him. This husband will stop, think, and consider before moving on in life.
For example he does not buy her something that she is allergic to or give her something that he likes and then hopes and prays that she would someday love it. If his wife is allergic to chocolate, he does not go out and buy her chocolate. He doesn’t go buy her a year’s subscription to Sports Illustrated and hope and pray that if she looks at it long enough she will love sports as much he does. No, he thinks of what she likes, sacrifices the time and money to get that for her and protects her as much as possible.
Christians must make it a point to meditate on the things of the Lord. There are things that God will not look upon and sin is one of them. Christians must think on and especially remember what hurts the Lord’s heart. His Word teaches us what He loves and what He hates.
King David is one of whom the Bible says was a man after God’s own heart. (Acts 13:22) The Psalmist David was very much concerned and intent upon knowing God’s nature so that he would never again damage his relationship with God in any way. David understood that God’s laws, precepts and decrees are reflections of His nature. In order not to violate the relationship, David was intent upon knowing what God had said. Psalms 119: 4-16 reveals clearly David’s attitude and what the Christian’s heart attitude should be in regards to meditations upon the written Word of God and his relationship with the Lord.
David writes, “You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed. Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands. I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws. I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me. How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, O LORD; teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.”
It is important to note, much of our motivation to meditate on God’s word is tied to the kind of relationship we have with Him. Christians who view God’s word as coming from the One who loves them and that they love Him, will have motivation to know and keep His Word with all their hearts.
Biblical meditation that helps you not to forget is that reflection on getting God’s truth into your heart.
Knowing that there are just things that Christians do not want to forget should cause them to desire to know how not to forget. This will enable them to Biblically meditate.
James the half brother of Jesus outlines for us the procedures to meditating upon the Lord and His Word, thus enabling us to enjoying the wisdom of God. He writes, “Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does. (James 1: 21-25)
The very last verse holds a truth that the child of God wants to grasp so he will not become a forgetful hearer and end up like the three hearers in Jesus’ parable of the sower. James writes, “…the man who looks intently into the perfect law…” (James1:25) The perfect law is referring to the Word of God. James says it gives freedom. “Looks intently” (parakupto) is the key word in this Scripture and it means, “to bend over” so as to see something better or clearly.
Have you ever watched surgery, I mean real surgery. When you are visiting a large hospital you can find channels that are showing surgery. They make every effort to make sure the area is clean so as to protect from infection. The nurses and doctors are often bent over looking to make sure everything is being done in a way that is best for the patient and staff. There is no casual, haphazard glance or preparation for they have one goal – that is to have the safest possible medical procedure done.
The Greek word for “looks intently” (parakupto) as it is used in James 1:25 communicates the kind of searching of the Scriptures that is single-minded, a systematic search that only has one purpose, and that is to find God’s truth so as to live out that truth. By doing this, the heart of man can be protected from the infections of the flesh, world and the devil, therefore keeping it spiritually healthy.
The Scriptures that have life changing impact are the ones that someone has purposely made time and effort to search the truths in, weather it was for getting ready to teach or for receiving direction and comfort. It is that making a direct effort that opens the heart for Holy Spirit revelation and illumination. Biblical meditation that helps you not to forget is that reflection on getting God’s truth into your heart. This can be done in many different ways. Only His Word can cleanse and transform a person’s life into the Image of Christ. All other approaches will only birth forth a form of godliness and cause people to miss the power of God to overcome sin that holds them in bondage.
To look intently, means once a Scripture has jumped out at a Christian, then he will examine it from every possible angle, carefully protecting his time, prayerfully seeking God to bring understanding and then surrendering to the Holy Spirit’s cleansing and empowerment to live it out.
There are many ways to accomplish a single-minded, systematic searching of God’s Word: 1.) Looking up Scriptural cross-references to other passages in the Word of God to help shed more light. 2.) Purchasing time tested commentaries written by men who have proven themselves as men who correctly handle the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:25; Hebrews 13:7) 3.) Make it possible to do word studies and studying certain key words in the text. 4.) Write down what the Lord has revealed to you and make a plan of how you are going to put that information into practical use. In Deuteronomy 17:18-20, Moses tells the king of the nation Israel what he must do to have the wisdom needed to rule God’s people once they have crossed over into the land of milk and honey. He writes, “When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the priests, who are Levites. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his brothers and not turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.” Learning to serve the Lord, follow carefully all the words of the law and its decrees and keep on the same level as our brothers. This is what Moses wanted us to know so we can walk in the wisdom of God. 5.) The last way to having a single-minded searching and retaining God’s Word is to make a teaching out of what you have learned and pass this insight on to someone else who may ask, and if you have a recognized gift to teach or to proclaim God’s Word, then teach a class on it or prepare a message. Doing all this will keep your hearts on seeking the Lord for His help to living a life that reflects the wisdom of God.
James has a truth that must be placed deep within our hearts, it is those who “…[continue] to do this… [they are the ones who] will be blessed in what [they do].” (James 1:25)
God’s promise to His church is wisdom upon the asking for it. Enjoying it requires true faith through the expressions of attention and meditation.
In closing we must take time to do some serious reflecting if we are going to be successful in applying the master discipline of hearing and doing through the practical application of attention and meditation.
Have you developed a habit of listening? Ecclesiastes 5:1 says, “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.”
The most searching test of your willingness to learn is threefold: 1.) Do you have a regular time for Bible reading, meditation, and prayer? 2.) Are you regular in attendance at a Bible teaching and Bible preaching church? And 3.) Do your kids see you willing to receive instructions and correction from the spiritual leaders in your life? Proverbs depicts the fool as one who will not listen to God, to rebuke, or to reason. Do you listen on purpose to God and to the elders in your life? These are made of spiritual leaders consisting of pastors, elders, deacons, Sunday school teachers and parents. Have you developed the habit of remembering what you are told? It is a wise person who develops ways to make sure he remembers what God has told him.
The sluggard in Proverbs offers many reasons that explain why he does not have the time, the opportunity, or the inclination to work his field so that his crop will grow. He comes to spiritual poverty, however, the wise man flourishes spiritually for he plowed, planted, and harvested when he should.
The writer of wisdom tells us in Proverbs 2:1-6, “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
One last reflection, the church of Jesus Christ is being watched by those in this world and the picture she gives to all who are observing is determined by her willingness to “Understand [her] Spiritual Resources.” The picture that the Lord wants presented is a bride who has His wisdom and gains understanding from His written Word on how to exercise her gifts under the influence of sacrificial (agape) love.
God’s promise to His church is wisdom upon the asking for it. Enjoying it requires true faith through the expressions of attention and meditation.
Let us pray!!!!