Saturday, September 30, 2006

Two Kinds of Wisdom

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives . . .

The above is from the book of James. I've always liked James, the practical apostle. He was a nuts and bolts kind of man, a bottom-line guy.

I have always wanted wisdom. I think I was impressed by the story of Solomon's request as a child, but I have one memory from childhood that's as clear as day. I remember being ten years old and in the fifth grade. I remember looking in the mirror and taking an inventory of my looks--and realizing that I was never going to be beautiful. I saw eyes that were two different sizes, dishwater colored hair, buck teeth--hey, I was a bottom-line woman even at ten. (If you could see my fifth grade pictures, you'd agree with that assessment!) I remember praying that since the Lord obviously didn't plan to make me beautiful, would he at least help me get that "beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit" talked about in 1 Peter 3? And if he could make me wise, too, that'd be great. Thanks and amen.

There have been times in my life when, by the Lord's grace, I have been able to react with wisdom, but there are other times when it's all too easy to react in the flesh. It's easy to become distracted by things that get under my skin. It's easy to take my eyes off the end of the furrow and forget that I'm supposed to be plowing a straight line.

And periodically it's good to remind myself of my callings and refocus. I am blessed with the positions of wife and mother, community member, member of the body of Christ. I have been placed in a position where I work with words--to share my faith, to teach, to impart Truth through the power of story.

Part of the call to excellence--and to obedience--means that I must diligently keep my hand on the plow and not become distracted. I must remember that I am a servant.

And today--I am off to do my best to serve some ladies in Birmingham! I'm looking forward to it.

Tomorrow: the BOM returns!