Friday, May 29, 2015

Life Smart

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, Philippians 1:9-10
This week, in honor of graduates everywhere, we are considering living intelligently.  This is a special kind of wisdom that you cannot earn a diploma for, but you certainly may save yourself some painful experiences! 
This week we have been looking at characteristics of wise people.  The first characteristic of a wise person is: a wise person can discern the difference between right and wrong.  He or she makes the right decisions. Second, a wise person discerns the difference between truth and lie.
The third characteristic of a wise person is that a wise person understands the difference between that which is important and that which is insignificant.
Society too often attaches its tags of highest worth to things that ultimately do not matter much, while other issues of urgency are all but ignored and deemed unimportant.
Consider what we are willing to pay and to whom - Scientists who labor in laboratories seeking cures to everything from arthritis to AIDS frequently live on shoestring budgets.  Professional athletes who happen to have been born tall or fast make multiple millions per year simply to shoot baskets or hit baseballs.  Social service workers labor in undeveloped countries and inner-city ministries and fight for funds to survive while actors demand multi-millions for the next blockbuster.  Our society values entertainment over feeding the hungry masses - It is obvious that we have switched the price tags, overvaluing things of little lasting significance and undervaluing the things that matter most.
Smart people know the difference between that which is unimportant and that which is of supreme significance.  They know the difference between material possessions and personal relationships.  They can discern between things and love. They acknowledge the gap between fame and faith. And they are wise enough to make the right choices
The fourth Characteristic of a Wise person is that they understand how to become "life smart."
Prior to becoming President of the U.S.A., Woodrow Wilson was the esteemed president of Princeton. He was asked once what it meant to be well educated. He replied: "A well educated person simply knows where to look to find information."
When dealing with the countless issues of daily life, we need more information than any one individual intuitively possesses. A wise person knows where to look to find it.
·      To successfully navigate life's waters, we daily look to the Bible for instruction and inspiration.
·      We become involved with the church, the gathered community of people of faith, where we share ideas and find support.
·      We develop and maintain the discipline of prayer (reiterating that prayer involves silence, reflection and listening to God).
·      Many find journaling to be of inestimable importance as we seek to understand our own personal lives.  Often by looking back over personal journals (quite like daily diaries) we can see patterns and attitudes that we were not aware of at all.
·      Small group involvement is essential. There is rarely such an animal as a solo Christian. When we become part of Bible study groups, prayer groups, support groups, and so forth, we find collective wisdom, strength and insight virtually unavailable in any other way. Two heads really are usually better than one. Three, five or ten are all the better.

You can be intelligent. So can I. It is ultimately a matter of discernment -- knowing the difference between right and wrong, truth and lie, importance and insignificance.
And that wisdom comes to those like Solomon who appeal to the proper Source. "God appeared to Solomon and said, 'Ask what I shall give to you.' And Solomon answered, 'Give me now wisdom and knowledge ....'"  The gift is still available to those who seek and ask. 

Scripture to Claim:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

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