Wisdom True and False


Good Vibes, Bad Vibes

During the Summer of Love (1967) thousands of young men and women (mostly from the Midwest) flocked to San Francisco to find god, love, and hope.

See  The Summer of Love and Revisiting the Haight-Ashbury.

It was there and in Jesus Movement that followed, that we learned about good and bad vibes. "Cool man," "groovy" and "right-on man" --were common expressions. If someone had "bad vibes," he or she was to be shunned.

We all, surely, want someone to affirm us in this life. God's affirmation and approval ought to be our most important goal of all!

As if all this way of relating were something new, back in that Summer of Love. It really wasn't.

When meeting a person for the first time, initial impressions can mean a lot, not only external appearances but also that individual's "vibes." When we really like someone, do we not seek to give a good first impression? Don't we all want to impress that job interviewer who is savvy and experienced--not easily conned? How about impressing our gf's parents the first time we meet?

We've all seen how the rapport in our small group can be quickly spoiled by innuendo or a caustic remark by one person misspeaking. Similarly flattery is a dangerous form of speech which fools many who are unwary. It's not just words that matter, what power is energizing that person's speech?

No one enjoys being corrected when we are wrong, or on a wrong path in life. But...

Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as children—

‘My child, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
   or lose heart when you are punished by him; 
 for the Lord disciplines those whom he loves,
   and chastises every child whom he accepts.’ 

Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline? If you do not have that discipline in which all children share, then you are illegitimate and not his children. Moreover, we had human parents to discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not be even more willing to be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share his holiness. Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. (Hebrews 12:3-12)

Good vibes, bad vibes can be better understand by heeding what James,
leader of the early church in Jerusalem, says under the subject of "Wisdom."

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, 
for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

For all of us make many mistakes.
Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect,
able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. 

If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. 

Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them,
yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 
So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.

How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire.

The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body,
sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. 
For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature,
can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, 
but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 
With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. 
From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.
My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. 

Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? 
Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs?
No more can salt water yield fresh.

Two Kinds of Wisdom

Who is wise and understanding among you?
Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. 
But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts,
do not be boastful and false to the truth. 
Such wisdom does not come down from above,
but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. 
For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. 
But the wisdom from above is first pure,
then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits,
without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. 
And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace. (James 3:1-18)


The Greek word "wisdom," sophia is feminine reminding us that derivative truth is different than absolute truth as spelled out in the Bible,

Because "Eve was deceived, but Adam was not deceived"
--ever since the Fall men have sat in seats of authority as kings, rulers, elders, fathers, leaders.

Yet Jesus is both the Word of God, (logos, M),
He is also the Wisdom of God, (sophia, F). See Logos and Sophia.

It was a man, not a woman, who died on the Cross to save us from our sins.
It was the man Jesus who trained his disciples, heads the true church.
Jesus is the Pioneer and Perfecter of our faith, and the heir of all things.

Both wise men and wise women exist in our world! So also the foolish.
Ultimate Wisdom is found in Jesus and His Bride the true church.

If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. 
But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; 
for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord." (James 1:5-8)

Proverbs 8

Does not wisdom call,
   and does not understanding raise her voice? 
On the heights, beside the way,
   at the crossroads she takes her stand; 
beside the gates in front of the town,
   at the entrance of the portals she cries out: 
‘To you, O people, I call,
   and my cry is to all that live. 
O simple ones, learn prudence;
   acquire intelligence, you who lack it. 
Hear, for I will speak noble things,
   and from my lips will come what is right; 
for my mouth will utter truth;
   wickedness is an abomination to my lips. 
All the words of my mouth are righteous;
   there is nothing twisted or crooked in them. 
They are all straight to one who understands
   and right to those who find knowledge. 
Take my instruction instead of silver,
   and knowledge rather than choice gold; 
for wisdom is better than jewels,
   and all that you may desire cannot compare with her. 
I, wisdom, live with prudence,
   and I attain knowledge and discretion. 
The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil.
Pride and arrogance and the way of evil
   and perverted speech I hate. 
I have good advice and sound wisdom;
   I have insight, I have strength. 
By me kings reign,
   and rulers decree what is just; 
by me rulers rule,
   and nobles, all who govern rightly. 
I love those who love me,
   and those who seek me diligently find me. 
Riches and honour are with me,
   enduring wealth and prosperity. 
My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold,
   and my yield than choice silver. 
I walk in the way of righteousness,
   along the paths of justice, 
endowing with wealth those who love me,
   and filling their treasuries.

Wisdom’s Part in Creation

The Lord created me at the beginning of his work,
   the first of his acts of long ago. 
Ages ago I was set up,
   at the first, before the beginning of the earth. 
When there were no depths I was brought forth,
   when there were no springs abounding with water. 
Before the mountains had been shaped,
   before the hills, I was brought forth— 
when he had not yet made earth and fields,
   or the world’s first bits of soil. 
When he established the heavens, I was there,
   when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, 
when he made firm the skies above,
   when he established the fountains of the deep, 
when he assigned to the sea its limit,
   so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth, 
   then I was beside him, like a master worker;
and I was daily his delight,
   rejoicing before him always, 
rejoicing in his inhabited world
   and delighting in the human race. 

‘And now, my children, listen to me:
   happy are those who keep my ways. 
Hear instruction and be wise,
   and do not neglect it. 
Happy is the one who listens to me,
   watching daily at my gates,
   waiting beside my doors. 
For whoever finds me finds life
   and obtains favour from the Lord; 
but those who miss me injure themselves;
   all who hate me love death.’ 

Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of those who mutilate the flesh! 
For it is we who are the circumcision,
who worship in the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh
— even though I, too, have reason for confidence in the flesh.

If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh,
I have more: circumcised on the eighth day,
a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin,
a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee;
as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.

Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 
More than that,
I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish,
in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him,
not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law,
but one that comes through faith in Christ,
the righteousness from God based on faith. 
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection
and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 
if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal;
but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 
Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; 
but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 
I press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. 
Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind;
and if you think differently about anything,
this too God will reveal to you. Only let us hold fast to what we have attained.

Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me,
and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. 
For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ;
I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. 
Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame;
their minds are set on earthly things. 
But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. 
He will transform the body of our humiliation so that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, 
by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself. (Philippians 3)

An Anectdote from John Eldredge

RUSHING THE FIELD

A friend of mine wanted to teach English as a second language in an Asian country, as a way of becoming a sort of undercover missionary. A beautiful dream, one that I'm sure she would have been excellent in fulfilling. But she rushed to the field unprepared in many ways. I don't mean finances and language skills; I mean in the ways of the heart. Lurking down in her soul were some deep and unresolved issues that would set her up for a fall: among them shame and guilt from an abusive past. The team she joined was totally unfamiliar with the new heart, and they doubted its goodness; as with too many Christian ministries, shame and guilt were often used as motivators. Their old covenant theology would play right into Susan's issues, shut down her young heart. Finally, she was unpracticed in spiritual warfare, ill-equipped for what hell would throw at her. The devil is a master at shame and guilt. She went; she got hammered; she came home, defeated. Her friends wonder if she'll ever try it again. The disaster could have been avoided. Wisdom was crying out: do not rush the field (Luke 14:31); train yourself to discern good and evil (Hebrews 5:14); live as though your life is at stake, and the enemy is waiting to outwit you (Matthew 10:16). God has given us all sorts of counsel and direction in his written Word; thank God, we have it written down in black and white. We would do well to be familiar with it, study it with all the intensity of the men who studied the maps of the Normandy coastline before they hit the beaches on D-Day. The more that wisdom enters our hearts, the more we will be able to trust our hearts in difficult situations.

Notice that wisdom is not cramming our head with principles. It is developing a discerning heart. What made Solomon such a sharp guy was his wise and discerning heart (1 Kings 3:9). We don't seek wisdom because it's a good idea; we seek wisdom because we're dead if we don't. (wildatheart.org).


Lambert Dolphin 





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