Archive

Posts Tagged ‘heart’

Wisdom that wins

April 13th, 2011

James 3:13-17

Life is a race to be won, a battle to be fought and a legacy to be built. This can only be achieved through wisdom.

 

(1) Wisdom is supreme

Look at some of the ways that scripture describes wisdom.

Proverbs 8:11 – all that you desire cannot compare with wisdom!

Proverbs 4:7 – the beginning of wisdom is – get wisdom!

We tend to think of wisdom in terms of the intellect, however, in scripture, wisdom is of the heart, and the heart is the seat of desire and reason. Joy is bound up with wisdom, it is something for which we were made.

Biblical wisdom is best defined as insight into true reality, thinking God’s thoughts after him.

It is God-centred. In scripture, only those in relationship with God are described as being wise.

Wisdom is not the same as knowledge. Disciples (or students) of Jesus are meant both to study him and to know the times in which they are living.

We show our wisdom by good conduct (the Greek could be translated as “beautiful life”). Jesus is the perfect example of living in wisdom, always watching to see what the Father is doing.

 

(2) That which is not wisdom

Anything good will be counterfeited.

v. 14 speaks of the heart being orientated to self. Folly starts with a rejection of God and plays out in bitter jealousy and selfish ambition. There is something corrupt in the human heart which desires to see the downfall of others. Haman, in the book of Esther, is a good example of this. Jesus was put to death due to the bitter envy of the religious leaders.

James describes this kind of wisdom as demonic. We should remember that there are two falls, the fall of man, and the fall of Satan, which led to the fall of man. Satan is the world’s greatest example of sin corrupting thought.

Earthly wisdom is a form of religion, trying to provide for God with outward obedience, yet empty in the heart.

The result of these two false wisdoms (the earthly and the demonic) is disorder in life and every vile (that is “worthless” or “trivial”) practice.

True wisdom is found in humbling ourselves before God and receiving wisdom from him.

All of us are building for eternity. This life is not to be toyed with, it matters.

 

(3) Wisdom from above

Wisdom from above is undefiled.

Proverbs 1:7 and Psalm 111:10 both assert that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

To fear God is to recognise that God is God. Yet, for those who believe in Jesus we can approach the Father as beloved sons, because we are in Christ, and the fear which has to do with punishment (1 John 4:17-19) has been taken away. God’s way of bringing his wisdom to us is through the sacrifice of his Son.

Wisdom is a gift. We can receive wisdom by humbling ourselves and committing our lives to God. It is not worth holding on to anything in our lives which will stop us from receiving his wisdom.

Author: Categories: General Tags: , , ,

Was Jesus Black/White, Rich/Poor, Right/Left?

November 24th, 2010

Luke 12:13-34. Jesus says a number of shocking things – he doesn’t fit into the boxes we put him in. We try to fit him around our agenda but it doesn’t work, because he is the Lord and centre of everything. Jesus is the cornerstone that was rejected – not the conveniently shaped stone we want – but the foundation we all need to build on. Throughout history there have been many ways Jesus has been put into boxes.

1. Was Jesus White or Black?

  • We all have an idea of what Jesus looked like – in the western world we have a view of a white, blonde-haired Jesus, whereas in places like Africa, Jesus is pictured as black.
  • Jesus and Christianity do not belong to any one particular ethnicity or culture.
  • In heaven there will be people from every race, culture, language – a fully diverse people.

2. Rich or Poor?

  • Jesus was a skilled manual labourer – would have earned quite a respectable income for his culture. He came from Nazareth, a town which was generally poor, and his parents also showed themselves to be poor (e.g. in the temple, they offered 2 turtle doves – the sacrifice for poor people).
  • When Jesus was a travelling preacher, it was custom to be kept going by the donations and financial support of others – he was not wealthy, but neither was he destitute.
  • Jesus and his disciples often got by financially completely by faith.
  • There are 2 popular versions that people have got behind – the wealthy Jesus or the poor Jesus. The first camp say rich is good and poor is bad; the second camp same the reverse.
  • But there was no evidence that Jesus was wealthy – no evidence for prosperity theology. But in the other camp, being poor doesn’t make you holy.
  • You can be rich for good reasons – because of hard work, wise handling of finances, integrity, etc. and you can be poor for bad reasons – squandering your money away. But you can also be rich for bad reasons and poor for good reasons.
  • The point is that it’s our attitude to wealth, not wealth itself, that is important. It’s about what you do with the money you have – do you give generously or do you hoard it all for yourself?
  • Money is a terrible deceiver – it makes you think you’re safe and secure, when ultimately you’re not.
  • It’s not a sin to accumulate a lot of money, the same way it’s not a sin to sleep with a sword hanging over your bed – it can just be very unwise and risky.
  • When Jesus talked about the poor being blessed and receiving salvation, what he means is that the poor seem to have a head-start in realising their need for God as they are deeply aware of their needs – whereas the rich think they already have all they need and are content with that.
  • God doesn’t need us – we need him! We are all “in the red” with God – we need him to pay our spiritual debt against him.
  • Money ruins our perspective and takes us away from trusting God.
  • We never have enough money!
  • God knows what you need – he can be trusted to provide. And with that comes real peace, security and rest. He has your back – he will always provide for you.
  • We can give generously with joy, because we know we’ve found something better than riches – Jesus. You deal with your money in the right way when you meet him.

3. Left or Right (Political)

  • This has also been passionately debated through history – was Jesus left-wing or right-wing?
  • In some ways Jesus was right-wing: he knew the ultimate problem is within the human heart (the heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart). Jesus said no-one except God is good and we are all evil. So many human decisions/solutions completely ignore the wickedness of the heart.
  • But Jesus did not promote complacency.
  • In other ways, Jesus was left-wing: he brought about the revolution of God’s kingdom and fought for social justice. He was revolutionary about how people can change – not by rules but by a new birth and a changed heart through meeting Jesus.

Ultimately, where you treasure is there your heart is. Jesus is worth everything – you see that when you meet him. You find something better than your own preconceptions, better than riches – Jesus himself.