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Monday, May 7, 2012

When Wisdom Is Not Enough

The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice. --Proverbs 12:15 NIV

People have called me wise before, and I've had people come to me seeking advice about just about everything, including things I really knew nothing about. I can admit, without feeling any extreme amount of pride in myself, that I've seen many people prosper after taking the advice I have given them.  I could list some success stories here, but that detracts from the point I'd rather make about me: The secret of all my wisdom is that none of it actually comes from me!

"The wise listen to advice," the Proverb at the beginning of this blog states. That means my wisdom came first from an adviser.  There is no adviser I hold higher than the Bible, and behind that, informing it completely, God.  In fact, I believe that there is no real wisdom aside from the wisdom of God, and I've tried always to measure the advice I received (and passed on) against this highest source. I am merely a mouthpiece, and it doesn't hurt my feelings at all if you go above my head and seek wisdom from the Source. In fact, I wish you would.

With all of that said, I can add that there are times when wisdom doesn't seem like enough. Sometimes, knowing and doing what is wise seems too hard, and other options seem better, or even "wiser." Choosing wisdom (the wisdom of God, that is) sometimes means walking away from what you and others want most desperately, turning loose of dreams and hopes, and depriving yourself of what seems fun or free.  Sometimes doing what is wise means doing it alone.

I wish at times like this I could offer another answer, which could be both wise and easy.  I haven't ever found one. It seems that the alternative of taking wisdom's answer to our problems is striking out on our own, blazing our own trail.  Yet, that doesn't seem very wise, because we've already been told the outcome to that process.

The Bible has a corollary to the Proverb at the beginning of this post; it reads, "There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death" (Proverbs 14: 12 and 16: 25 NIV).  That death is like being lost and alone in the woods forever; it is the end result for choosing paths other than the one blazed for us by our best Adviser.  In light of that picture, it seems wiser to take the path that leads to deliverance and a good outcome, rather than one that leads to destruction, no matter how painful the journey might be. 

So what am I saying? Only that, when wisdom isn't good enough for us, the only other alternative is punishment, and we don't want that.  It is better to choose wisdom, even if it hurts sometimes. It isn't without its rewards. Wisdom leads you out of the woods; it frees you, prospers you, sustains you.  Wisdom blesses you with more than you had before, and brings you out of aloneness into fellowship with God and with others who know God.  Wisdom is the very breath of God.  There is never really a point when it is not enough.  Choose wisdom!