Living Wisely

“The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom.” Isaiah 11:2 NKJV

“Wisdom is living with a concern for doing the right thing for the broadest benefit.”

My thoughts today are about “living wisely.”

Some people do not realize there is a difference between cleverness and wisdom. The world’s culture admires and rewards cleverness – a philosophy that embraces, “me first and others second, if convenient.” It seems to me that being clever in every situation involves the idea of knowing and doing what is advantageous to yourself, even at the expense of others. To live without regard for others’ well-being is in conflict with God’s clear standard. “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4 NIV. That is not always as simple as it first appears.

Being clever may get you ahead, but everything in life is not a competition. I saw a clever bumper sticker that read, “The one with the most toys wins.” But is that really true? Sometimes the clever one has the most toys but loses – loses family, friends, respect, influence, and satisfaction. If you always have to win, after a while no one else is willing to play. Being clever is not easily consistent with Jesus’ words, “Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:17 NKJV.  Yes, the world’s culture values cleverness while devaluing wisdom. Clever people usually hurt other people, and often the ones closest to them; they hurt people they did not mean to hurt, because they were looking out only for themselves.

By contrast, wisdom is living with a concern for doing the right thing for the broadest benefit. James, the brother of Jesus, wrote: “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts . . such wisdom does not come down from Heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil . . but the wisdom that comes from above is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:13-17 NIV.

Someone described Godly wisdom as “the ability to see your situation from God’s point of view.” For that to happen, you need God’s help, which is exactly what He promises to provide. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should pray to God who will give it to him; because God gives generously and graciously to all.” James 1:5 TEV. Wisdom is much more than the best of one’s natural cleverness. God is the Source of all true wisdom; Jesus is the embodiment of wisdom; the Holy Spirit is the agent of wisdom. “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” Isaiah 11:2 NKJV.

Jesus connected wisdom with truth, and linked truth with the One who is the Spirit of truth: “When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. John 16:13 NLT. Living wisely is living in Christ. “You are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God – and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.” 1 Corinthians 1:30 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that you live wisely, open and honest before God and man.