Did you know that James has often been called the “Proverbs of the New Testament”? Neither did I, until last week.

Perhaps it is because James is intensely practical, much like Proverbs. While the Apostle Paul spends a great deal of time expounding on doctrine and the mystery of our union with Christ, James cuts right to the heart of our complacency in short, concise phrases. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

I find it humorously ironic that in one of my homegroups, the topic is James; in the other, it’s Proverbs. Hmm…a theme? 

As we plopped elbow-close on the floor, discussing and laughing, my friend said something about wisdom that startled me into new understanding.

“Wisdom” she said, “is seeing things the way God does.” “Like God-glasses?” someone asked. We all laughed, but the picture fit. *

We are born with faulty vision; distorted, warped. In our eyes, evil can look like good, people are devalued, and our own self-importance can inflate like an over-filled tire. We need some corrective lenses.

If wisdom is about accurate sight, then it can’t be merely a collection of facts and tips about how to behave, like a cheat sheet to whip out of your pocket when you don’t know what to do. I like systems that make sense, which can be codified like math. But God’s wisdom can’t be reduced to a code of conduct, though some have tried. If I use a cheat sheet enough, I might develop street smarts, but never true wisdom.  God says that “as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)

OK, but how do I get his way of seeing things into my own head? I was wondering because I, like James, can be intensely practical.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10)The words suddenly scrolled like a newsflash across my memory.

 Someone once explained to me that if we see God accurately for Who he is—majestic, resplendent in untrammeled power, fiercely beautiful, Judge of hidden secrets—this true sight will produce in us the healthy respect and awe he deserves. To know him is to see him. 

Knowing produces accurate sight.
Sight produces accurate fear.
Fear is the beginning of wisdom.

When I set heart toward Him, resolving to spend time with Him, honor Him, know Him, my vision will clear toward Him first. I will see Him as He is, and the clarity will travel outward, like ripples on a lake.

Yep, it goes against every insta-fix instinct. Every urge to reach for a cheat sheet. Wisdom, like the relationship with wisdom’s Source, takes time to foster. But it will be worth every moment.

*My friend got her definition of wisdom from a class taught by our Pastor, R.M. #tryingtocitesourcesbetter 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *