Friday, October 1, 2010

Wisdom from Above

God's wisdom is above even these gorgeous clouds He made.  Photo by Helene Bergren

©Helene Bergren. All Rights Reserved.

Growing up in southwest Iowa, summer days sometimes brought 100 percent humidity, 100 degrees Fahrenheit and about 100 ideas for fun. Here’s one.

Traipsing into my friend, Susy’s, back yard in our little-girl swimsuits, my beautiful, platinum blond, blue-eyed buddy, and I, too skinny to many people, green-eyed and brown-haired, would jump off the dock into her family’s farm pond, enjoying the refreshing (slightly fishy smelling) water.

The water splashed, and we giggled and touched our toes on the muddy pond bottom and felt, oh-so-much-better after a dip in the pond, which was set into a gentle, green pasture hill.

Wisdom draws me in like a splash of that cool water these days. When I feel stuck in the heat of a predicament too big for me to manipulate to my satisfaction, wonder what the right thing to pray for is, or see troubling events in the news, God’s wisdom remains. And it has bailed me out on countless occasions, including some failed attempts at meddling, or so-called helping God.

Lately, James 3:17-18 has touched my heart. In neat-for-me cursive writing, it flows in black ink across the white back of a recipe card tucked into one of my Bibles. I frequently pick it up, run my finger across the card, read and re-read it. Soon, I will have it memorized, not out of an attempt to do so, but out of my sheer fascination with this passage.

It says, “But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.”

That’s the NIV version. And I love it. Look at all the good qualities in wisdom from above, and the fruit it bears.

  • Is Pure
  • Loves peace
  • Remains gentle always
  • Willing to yield to others
  • Filled with mercy and good deeds
  • Does not play favorites
  • Persists always in sincerity
  • Plants seeds of peace
  • Harvests righteousness

This wisdom passage reminds me of how God’s goodness stretches far, impossible-to-measure far, beyond what I, or any person, could ever achieve. Always sincere. Gentle at all times. I can’t pull that off. But by the grace of God, His work in me results in all those good qualities from time to time. Because He has showered me with His wisdom – Please send more, Lord – the wisdom I apply to handling situations often results in these qualities as integral parts of a response I give, or simply the way I am. I credit Him for when I show these qualities.

My wisdom sometimes aligns with the world’s. When it comes to the I-wants, the worry, unhealthy competition, and fear, we best watch ourselves, check our ‘tudes and get in tune with the One True God.

Television today shows a world proud of its promiscuity. Textbooks and nature programs reject our Creator.

We too often turn our backs on the poor and oppressed here in the United States and abroad, sometimes out of feeling overwhelmed and undecided about how to help. That seems like an excellent place to direct prayers for wisdom and clarity for each of us individually.

Sometimes we fail to give because we feel we can’t give up one more dollar, or we will be giving up too much. I urge you to seek God’s will in this. Sometimes the ways God calls us do not make sense, to our human minds.

In 1 Corinthians 1:24-26, Paul points out, “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. (That’s NIV.)

So if you don’t know how you can accept a Creator, give up some material blessings to bless some strangers or want to hold onto power and control over your own life, remember this verse. His mind trumps our minds, especially left to their own devices.

But see how we’re blessed, if we are walking through life with Jesus Christ as our Savior. With Christ, we receive the Holy Spirit, with all His perks and benefits. The next passage refers to God’s secret wisdom.

13This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.[a] 14The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment:
16"For who has known the mind of the Lord
that he may instruct him?"[b] But we have the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:13-16 (New International Version, from

The wisdom of the world cannot help but be mistaken. But we who are filled with the Holy Spirit because of redemption through Jesus, are blessed with the mind of Christ. What an honor. What a privilege. What a joy.

Yes, God offers a blessing, to understand more and more the way Father, Son and Holy Spirit think. To have access to understanding through the God of the universe, shows me what a deep and holy relationship He desires with me, and with you.

Solomon, the Old Testament King, son of King David, asked for wisdom. Check out 1 Kings:3 for yourself. The New Living Translation in a portion of the story depicts Solomon’s phrasing as a request for an “understanding heart.”

I love it when something like wisdom, which sometimes seems relatively academic to me, with God, engages all of Him, and us as His followers. If we let it.

Solomon blessed God Himself when he asked for wisdom to govern God’s people. And God, in turn, blessed Solomon with the wisdom to exceed that of all people – ever.

Now when it comes to praying, why wouldn’t I pray for that “wisdom from above” in the passage from James? Why wouldn’t I want something that will help me to love peace and live gently?

I long to please Him, not just in what I do, but in how I do it, which speaks to who I really am. Praise God He leads me. Praise God He blesses me. Praise God I can grow more wise – and exhibit more godly qualities every single day – simply because He desires to lavish His followers with the good.

His generous hand, ready to give wisdom, reaches for yours. Reach back.

©Helene Bergren. All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

  1. How have you seen God's wisdom lately?

    When do you experience the world's wisdom trying to compete with God's in your life?

    What do you/can you do to build wisdom from above into your way of thinking?

    Do you have a relationship with Jesus, and thus access to wisdom from above/the mind of Christ?