April 23, 2012

Godly Wisdom?

I have some thoughts swirling in my head and I need to just write and get them out. You, my friends, might have some additional valuable insight and perspective.

First. There were two spiders crawling outside our garage door recently.

Second. I now sleep with a gun.

I have deeper thoughts. I promise, I do.

Recently I heard an older person make the following statements. This is paraphrased.

Young pastors, though they may know the Bible back and forth, don't really know much more than that because they haven't had the life experience to give it meaning. They're really just teaching a bunch of theories. I think much differently now than I did when I was 30. Verses that I read before now have completely different meaning. I've realized that it's not possible to understand certain verses until you've gotten older and experienced more of life. 

That was the general gist of it.

So here are my thoughts after I've had some time to think about it. By the way, by God's grace, I was able to say not a word in response. If you know me, that's nothing short of a miracle. I was trying not to be argumentative and to show honor and I also knew that once some people's minds are made up, there's no changing it.

So that's where you come in. I get to bounce my thoughts off you and not have anyone jump in with a condescending nod and a You'll understand when you get to my age. (Right?)

Initial thoughts.

From beginning to end, God called the young. Off the top of my head I can think of Samuel, David, Solomon, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abed-nego, Jeremiah, Mary, Timothy, and probably others that I can't think of right now. These kids were not called to little things. God called them for big, history-altering purposes. Think about that. He placed his history-altering plans and purposes in the hands of kids, teenagers, young adults.

Also. James 3 tells us there's earthly wisdom and there's godly wisdom. It expressly says that godly wisdom comes from above (i.e. God). Godly wisdom comes from God. Not age. Not experience. Not the school of hard knocks.

Let me head off the next argument. Yes, you can gain wisdom as you age and through varied life experiences. Absolutely. Not all who age, however, gain wisdom. Simply having a life experience does not guarantee you will gain wisdom. Why? Because true wisdom comes from God. Just like we've already established.

That being said, I do believe there is a place for longevity and the wisdom of many years of walking with the Lord. Should a couple who's been married a year and a half be giving marital counsel? Probably not. They should feel free to share the godly wisdom of others, but there are probably better-equipped marriage counselors.

So. Back to the above statements. It has really, really bothered me, so today as I was riding my bike, pouring my frustrations out to the Lord, I just gave him the whole situation and prayed for his peace. I was even willing to be wrong, even though the whole thing didn't taste right, but I wanted God's truth, not a battle of opinions.

Well. I got home today, put the boys down for their naps, spent a little time on the Internet, and then had my quiet time. I spent some time talking to the Lord, again pouring out my heart, praying for his peace and for the mind of Christ. And then I opened my Bible to this. To this, guys. I'm using a reading plan and this was today's section. In other words I was not looking for anything to prove my point. I was simply starting off where I had last stopped.

"And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God." 1st Corinthians 2:1-5

In addition, my commentary said this.

Paul avoided Greek rhetoric and focused on the message of the cross, so that the Corinthians would put their faith in Christ who was crucified rather than in the ability of human messengers. 

And also.

Mere intellectual persuasion does not save people. Saving faith is produced by the heart-changing power of the Holy Spirit as the gospel is proclaimed. 

On a similar note, I was once told by a pastor's wife that she knows people come because it's her husband preaching. Not because of what's being taught but because it's him teaching it.

Yesterday I read an article in which the writer addressed this very thing. He said that if a pastor knows that the people believe that, he needs to call his people to repentance. It's not the messenger, it's the message of Christ and him crucified that we should seek to know and teach.

I mean no disrespect. I want to honor those older than me. (And younger than me.) (And those that are the same age as me.) I know I have so much to learn and grow. I want to make sure that I stay humble and teachable and go back to Scripture as my guide, not anything else.

Because it's important that we weigh everything on the scale of Scripture.

1st Timothy 4:16 says, "Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching."

I only mean to say that being well-intentioned does not get us off the hook for erroneous doctrine. These are not bad people. Obviously. Not even in the ballpark. And I've said so many things in my life that were so far off-base, it's ridonkulous. But that's why we can't stop seeking the Lord through his word. We have to be spending time with the Lord, asking him to examine our hearts, giving us a desire for truth, purifying our hearts and minds. We have to be in community, listening to one another, being teachable, teaching others. And we have to do it in a spirit of love. If anything in us has an I'll-show-them tinge to it, we need to stop, repent, and ask the Lord to give us his love and humility.

The purpose is not to be right. It's to be godly and established in God's truth and love.

By God's grace, I'm in process. And by God's grace, sometimes I do the right thing. Which, in this recent case, was to stay zip-lipped. And zip-lipped I was.

3 comments:

  1. That was great Sara. I totally agree. Wisdom is from God not man and has nothing to do with age. I was able to get closer to God when I became older simply by the way God shined through Stacy and Matt. Parents and older adults need to sometimes stand back and look what God is doing in so many of our young adults and children. They need to be open minded to look deeper if they are searching and find answers that are grounded in scripture. Just because we have lived longer certainly does not make us all wiser, but rather the ability to listen to God and others with an open mind to grow closer is what its all about.

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    1. I so appreciate you! I always love your insight!

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  2. Oh Sara I just love you super duper lot! I love how you think and how you communicate! Did you know that David was 15 when he fought Goliath? Yup, all the old guys were hiding and little 15 year old stepped up. And ya know sometimes I feel like I am getting less wise in my "old age" ha ha. I forget the things I once knew. But I do know the longer we give ourselves to learning something the more wisdom God gives us in that area. Like what college students are like and how to reach them. God has given me wisdom, more wisdom now after 10 years than my first year. So I think wisdom comes with time devoted to something. And I totally agree with every word you said. Just because someone is older does not mean they are wiser!!!

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