The world is sure to churn out maxim after maxim, each designed to make you feel better about yourself and promote the world’s ‘method for madness,’ but it’s always very important to consider what the Bible says about you, me, and the world for that matter. Paul in Romans 12:2 instructs the Roman church to NOT be conformed to the world and its ways. James in James chapter 4 warns his audience that ‘friendship with the world is enmity with God.’ In other words, subscribing to the world’s way makes you hostile toward God.
The book of James describes two types of wisdom, one from above which is pure and full of good fruit and one from the world, yielding worldliness and anti-spirituality. The wisest man to ever live, King Solomon, speaks of wisdom this way: “Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”
So what exactly is wisdom and understanding? Solomon and Job both tend to agree in the wisdom books of the Old Testament – The fear of the Lord is wisdom, and departing from/shunning evil is understanding. (See Proverbs 1:7, 3:13, 9:10, Job 28:28, & Psalm 111:10)
Below I’ve listed a few popular American idioms (there are many more) that when compared to the Word of God lose value and prove to either be completely false or only partially true. It’s a given of course for me that the Bible is inerrant and infallible, and if the same is true for you then wouldn’t it be wise to hold the utmost stock in its words? Here we see the world’s wisdom coming into conflict with God’s timeless and absolute wisdom.
You’ve made your bed, now lie in it
“”Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” MATTHEW 11:28
If it’s not one thing, it’s another
“For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.” JEREMIAH 29:11
Variety is the spice of life
“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze straight before you, give careful thought to the paths of your feet and be steadfast in your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” PROVERBS 4:25-27
When it rains it pours
“He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous.” MATTHEW 5:45
What you see is what you get
“Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. 2nd CORINTHIANS 5:6-7
The seven year itch
“But a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself.” PROVERBS 6:32
Having an ax to grind
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive your sins.” MARK 11:25
Conventional wisdom, as defined by Wikipedia, ‘is the body of ideas or explanations generally accepted as true by the public or by experts in a field.’ In simplifying that definition, let’s say that conventional wisdom is the product of man and his experiences and conclusions. It’s obvious then that Godly wisdom is the product of God, and as we can see with the above maxims, wisdom from above does and in fact should supersede anything that man comes up with apart from God. I’m not aiming to disavow every fact or idea ‘under the sun,’ but I am encouraging you to test everything and compare what you hear and read in this world to the Holy scriptures. At the end of the day, if we believe James to be true, there are two types of wisdom. Which type do you pledge allegiance to?
Joe D’Orsie – Communications & Spiritual Life Counsel firstname.lastname@example.org