“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
For most of my life I lacked wisdom–exuding it, that is. Even though I thought I was living wisely, I wasn’t. This was because I was living according to the flesh and old stinking thinking. Sure, I had special gifts and talents; I was extremely self-motivated and driven–I still am–but I bragged on the wrong things all the time. My focus was way off–way off of my true identity in Christ.
“Look at what all I’ve done!”
“Look at what I’ve got!”
“Look at how smart I am!”
“Blah, blah, blah…and blah.” I needed to recenter. The deep insecurities I had in my soul manifested themselves into a faux-confidence. People who constantly brag, really, are troubled. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for confidently boasting within reason. What we don’t want to do is get to the point of having a fake humility, never bragging on anything because we’re “too holy.” BRAG! Post! Share! Just keep it in perspective. Keep it in balance. Keep it in focus.
Bragging on our kids or an accomplishment online is fine. But when boasting is out of balance we can find ourselves looking for something from others that only God can provide: unconditional, never-ending approval. No amount of selfies on Facebook can make someone feel whole, and no amount of Snapchat or Instagram stories can give us what we need.
As children of God, when we place too much emphasis on a certain talent of ours, a person, a job or an image, we’re setting ourselves up for severe stress and failure. All of that stuff can be washed away in an instant. They are sandcastles. When the waves of life come crashing in and knocks them down, our peace, joy, and confidence gets knocked down with them. Living this way is unwise. We must refocus on who we are, as well as who we belong to!
The good news is, the Spirit of God is very wise! The even better news is, He lives in you as a Christian! For me, most of my bragging was on my business accomplishments, my attractive wife, the stuff I owned, as well as my large following on social media. Sandcastles, I tell ya. All sandcastles. For a time, my ministry had even become a large sandcastle. Striving to keep a polished public perception, even to the point of allowing completely unacceptable behavior from others, tortured my mind daily.
Thankfully, God began to teach me new things about myself! His wisdom started to grow in my thinking! It was already in my heart, because He lived there, but wisdom was now starting to trickle into my mind! To be clear, all Christians are wise–equally wise. Why would I say that? Again, because God is wise and He lives in each of us evenly. There are not different levels of Christendom. No matter if we wear a robe and a collar, or we smell like garbage because we’re homeless–our identity is the same: Saints. Holy people. God’s kids.
Never confuse identity with behavior, they are not the same. Wise behavior only comes by way of understanding your true identity. Your true identity cannot come by way of wise behavior.
Now, do we saints all live wisely? No. Do we make every decision in a God-like manner of wisdom? No. We’re all learning and growing. The Spirit leads us all day long into wise choices and attitudes. But even still, we must choose to let His wisdom flow from us. What’s in us we must let out!
There was a man in the Old Testament named Solomon, he was David’s son. In 1 Kings 3, God said to Solomon, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” What did he ask for? Did he ask for a long life? Did he ask for wealth? No. Solomon asked for wisdom. Because of this, God was impressed and granted him wisdom along with a long life and great wealth! From what I understand, he was maybe the wealthiest person to ever live! By today’s standards he would have been worth 2.1 trillion dollars!
But he asked for wisdom! Wisdom! Do you see how important wisdom is to our Creator?! Despite King Solomon being one of the most accomplished human beings ever, he was mostly known as the wisest person to ever live! Jesus Himself even said Solomon was full of splendor! (See Luke 12:27).
Wisdom is so important! It determines how we will handle the good, bad, and indifferent! For us, children of God, all we have to do is listen to Him and then be ourselves. Here’s a handful of things the Holy Spirit has taught me about wisdom:
- You must destroy your pride. This was a major overhauling in my choices and thinking. Due to my overly-competitive personality, I have to be deliberately conscious of prideful thoughts as well as my actions. When a difficult situation arises, I have to stop for a moment and weigh my options. “Are you stressed?” “Are you tired?” “Is this worth it?” “Do you really have any control over this?” These are some wise questions the Holy Spirit asks me to get me to refocus on peace. Peace then allows me to get things done properly–and usually in a much more productive way.
- Be teachable. Being teachable is another way of saying be humble. If we think we know it all, we will never allow others to counsel us. That is, God and people. Having a mindset of entitlement hinders us from learning from those who have been there and done that. Ultimately, it’s the Holy Spirit who will be teaching us the most, but He has also taught countless amounts of other people too. Listen when advice is offered, and better yet, watch when wise people make their choices.
- Don’t gamble on your future. What I mean by this is make good decisions that will benefit you and your loved ones for tomorrow. If you are smoking cigarettes all day long, constantly getting drunk, getting high, overeating, doing illegal stuff, refusing to get regular exercise, living with a short fuse, cheating on your spouse, never taking advice, watching porn, blowing money, being legalistic, not teaching your kids about Jesus, refusing to forgive, or ___________ (you fill in the blank)–you’re risking the joy and security of those who love you. Begin to ask God for help with all of these things and He will send new people into your life who will help you. He will also remove people who are hindering you, as well as give you new desires for authentic change.
- Be decisive! Standing still in life because we’re too fearful of what our decisions will bring about is not wise! WE MUST MAKE UP OUR MINDS, AND DO IT! Commit to it! Commit to them! Commit to living out who you really are inside! Make a decision, today, and move forward! Even if you make an unwise choice, or take a step in the wrong direction, God will somehow use it for good! (See Romans 8:28).
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, thank you for the wisdom which comes from you! Please keep taking me deeper! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For those who are extremely frustrated with everything and everyone around them, give them peace through your wisdom! And for those who are placing their identity in things and people–stuff that can be washed away–help them to refocus on who they are in Christ! He will never be washed away! In His name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 2. Get your copy here!