“I need to be careful where I get my advice from.”
If you have ever made any of the above comments…...then you were searching for wisdom from someone, somehow, or somewhere.
Let me clarify the difference between wisdom and discernment. Wisdom is the knowledge or advice that we are seeking. We might be looking for little doses of truth or some solid wisdom to fixing that problem that you have. Discernment is the ability to take wisdom (no matter how good or bad) and apply it to our lives.
Lack of Wisdom + Discernment = a hurting Church…….
If you want to see a good indicator of our lack of wisdom and discernment, then I challenge you to interview a bunch of people. Interview people at church, in the community, and at work (if you are allowed). Ask people where they get their wisdom from and how do they know the type of outcome it will produce. Write down the answers that you are given.
Additionally, we do alot of applying in our lives. We apply updates to our phones to make them operate more efficiently. We apply for jobs by submitting resumes’, cover letters, and applications. We apply sunscreen to our bodies so we do not suffer the pain of sunburn. Lastly, we take wisdom that we are given and apply it to our lives.
This is my last article in the series on “Things Killing the Church”. But I want to keep things very simple for us in addressing the wisdom we get and how to discern it. In the Old Testament, there are a portion of books known as “the Wisdom books”. In the New Testament, we are given the Holy Spirit who can help us discern situations (of course, if we allow the Holy Spirit to move).
How did we as a Church/community come to this place where we lack wisdom and discernment?
How did we as a Church begin to listen to culture to define us instead of the great Creator??
We have strayed not just in our principles and beliefs but also in the process. Christianity is a process and we need to start living like Christianity is not a vacation or destination. It is not a vacation or destination because we do not merely accept Christ (at whatever age this occurs) and then our ticket is stamped until we get to Heaven. The Kingdom is here on EARTH….as it is in HEAVEN. Our souls need fed but what are we feeding them? We can change the world but what are we feeding others?
Try the following to discover where you gain wisdom and how you apply it…………..
Check your sources--No, I am not suggesting that you check your sources like you are writing a research paper or book report. However, when we are receiving wisdom (willingly or not), we need to “consider the source”. If someone comes up to you with juicy gossip and that is all that they ever do, do you really want to get wisdom from them? If your source(s) have never admitted faults/sins/mistakes, do you think they can give you solid advice. I am not insinuating that people need to be perfect; however, you want wisdom from people that have battle wounds AND KNOW IT! I would rather walk a mile with a person who has been through utter darkness (and admits it) than walk 10 feet with someone who doesn’t know their struggle.
Check yourself--This is perhaps one of the most difficult steps in receiving wisdom. Take your question to God. What are you seeking and how you are seeking validation? If you are seeking wisdom then you need to know the real reason you are seeking it. Maybe you like to be right all of the time; it's nice to be right but this will cost you and others around you. As Jesus (and a famous hip hop artist) said: Check yourself, before you wreck yourself. :-)
Is this even biblical?--While this seems like an obvious question, it is easy to rush through decisions without matching our wisdom to the Word. We must use DISCERNMENT when we receive wisdom. Discernment is the act of taking wisdom and filtering it through our the eyes of Jesus. If we see the world as Jesus sees it, it will cause holy disruptions to your life. Our hearts will long to help others experience true healing. Our minds will not be distracted by the opinions of the media (especially the “breaking news”) that flood our Facebook feeds and cause even more anxiety to a stressed out society. When you receive wisdom, ask if this is from God? If you are not sure, then pray and ask some trusted people to pray.
Discernment is a process--The art of discernment begins to form in our lives step-by-step. If you never talk to God, then you will never hear from Him. Like any good relationship, a relationship with God takes TIME. Communication must be a two-way street. If you are not hearing from God, then keep praying. Don’t be a quitter or a hater--Satan loves both equally. Identify when and where you are best able to hear from God. Write down notes or thoughts throughout the day. We are never done growing with God. We might reach certain milestones in our lives such as baptisms, weddings, Confirmation, or responding to an altar call; however, God is never done with us.
Picture your life as a painting. If you want some vivid color to it, then you need to seek wisdom from the ultimate painter (God). If God created the heavens and the Earth, then He surely can paint your life beautifully. Like any painting, there might be some imperfections or paint strokes that went rogue but the painter is not done. In fact, He is just getting started.
Give up your brush and allow God to paint your life.
His wisdom and discernment are far better than anything else we will find on Earth.