Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Wisdom brings balance.

Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
and call insight your intimate friend,
Proverbs 7:4

Of all the gifts God gives in His Word through the ministry of His Holy Spirit, wisdom is the most personal. It is truth applied to life. Wisdom takes general insights from God and personally places them into meaningful and impactful personal context. And this personal application is unique. God's wisdom leads me a little differently than it leads you.

And I have found that personal application of God's truth can morph and change over time in my life. The truth absolutely is unchanging and remains the same. The application however can change. A very mundane example would be what scripture teaches about alcohol. The Bible condemns drunkeness as well as what used to be called carousing -- alcohol fueled partying that is an unfortunate social commonality these days. Yet scriptures also indicate that wine is an accepted beverage and at times the Bible enjoins us to enjoy it as such. So the application must find room for wisdom in its practice. In many cases in my life I have preferred the application of abstinence from alcohol. Refraining from alcohol has kept me from extremes of sin. Yet moderation is a good thing, and frankly, abstinence as legalism and judgmentalism is another type of sin. And so insight tells me that to practice moderation in proper settings is also pleasing to the Lord as long as it leads me to 1) enjoy God's good gifts and 2) refrain from the sin of overindulgence. I might add, however, that if I was ever tempted to alcholism, I would follow Jesus' injunction to radical amputation and simply "cut off" alcohol altogether. That would be wise and the best insight from God.

The same balance applies to food (gluttony is a sin vs feasting as a pleasure from God), relationships (true love from God vs selfishness), or even sex (marital faithfulness between man and wife as God designed vs selfish sensuality that pursues every urge). God's good gifts require obedience to Him, discretion in their practice, and insight into why we should enjoy them. "Whatever you eat or drink or anything you do, do it all for God's glory". That is how the New Testament call us to the practical application of wisdom and insight.

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